Incorrect information or powerful symbols?A photo of a masked sophomore yearbook raises a question


Washington — Recently, social media images showing a second-year yearbook page for a public school in Oregon where students are masked are angry from people who say children don’t need to wear face covers in the classroom. Is connected to.

“What we do to children in this country is horrifying.” .. “I’ve seen these neurotic and crazy adults impose their mental illness everywhere on their children.”

A Twitter user reposted the photo to target Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s best medical adviser and favorite target of right-wing anger. “He has to pay for his crime” Refer to the photo.

Still, this image describes policy masking, at least as much as how lies and deceptions spread and how difficult it is to identify them.

What was somehow lost in the whirlpool of anger is the fact that the photo in question is almost a year old. “This year’s photo was taken outdoors without a mask with the help of a contracted photographer,” Jen McCulley, community engagement director at Springfield Public School, where the school in question is located, emailed Yahoo News. Told.

She added that Springfield was “the largest district where we could safely return to face-to-face instruction last spring,” when many Democratic states and municipalities were struggling to break away from distance learning. I did.

So does the tweet make up the wrong information to exclude important contexts? Or isn’t that context important as children in Oregon and many other states continue to wear masks at school? Yahoo News has spoken to several experts about the misinformation and called on them to reflect on Oregon’s tweets as a valid volley in the coronavirus culture war or as a deceptive effort to shake the story.

These experts broadly opposed and hinted at how difficult it would be for institutions, including media and social media networks, to crack down on content that could be misleading or completely wrong.

“Is this photo incorrect? It’s in the eyes of the viewer,” said Notre Dame University. Researching social media, told Yahoo New by email. “In general, most of the disinformation is to present out-of-context images. For example, while showing a bloody picture of the Crimean War a few years ago, we talk about the latest information on Russian troops near Ukraine. “

First grade Branson Johnston will be seen at the Portland Public School on Thursday, April 1, 2021 at Hayhurst Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, on the first day of hybrid instruction (AP image of Carlos Delgado / Portland Public School).

First grade Branson Johnston will be seen at the Portland Public School on Thursday, April 1, 2021 at Hayhurst Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, on the first day of hybrid instruction (AP image of Carlos Delgado / Portland Public School).

In a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, To some extent. Music streaming service Spotify was criticized this month for doing nothing more to curb the unscientific and potentially harmful views expressed in Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. on Sunday, ..

Logan was in it The Twitter account, which blew the image to 500,000 followers on January 23, appears that the cultural war over masks at school is heating up again, and even some Democrats end up with children. I’m asking you to take off the cover. The surge in Omicron seemed to subside.

“A yearbook for second grade elementary school students in Oregon. This is very sad.” ..What was missing was a context other than follow-up tweets that seemed to admit Ben Edtor, an anti-Rocktown activist who runs the following organizations: Was the original source of the yearbook image.

Libs of TikTok is run by an anonymous woman who did not respond to requests for comment on this article.However , She said that exposing teachers is a major goal. “It’s a great honor and I feel a little responsible. I feel that I have a duty to show my children what these teachers are doing.” She said. “And when the action is actually taken, that is, when the teacher is fired or suspended, it feels really great.”

Thousands of people responded with anger, resentment, and disappointment to the image of the masked sophomore. “This is another example of how insane liberals and liberals who agree with the story really are.” , Right-wing site dedicated to the work of conspiracy theorists .. “If you can’t see your child’s face, what is the purpose of the yearbook photo? These people are really crazy.”

Demonstrators are holding a sign during a mandate against vaccines at the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, USA, on Sunday, January 23, 2022.  (Ericley / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Demonstrators are holding a sign during a mandate against vaccines at the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, USA, on Sunday, January 23, 2022. (Ericley / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The image seemed to come true at the perfect moment, just as many progressives came to the idea that it might not be necessary to mask children at school. The photo confirmed those concerns, even if it pretended to be inaccurate. But undoubtedly, the fact that Oregon children continue to wear masks makes the lack of context irrelevant.

Anjana Susarla, a misinformation expert in Michigan, disagrees. “This tweet seems like a case of false information because it’s not supported by current facts,” she emailed Yahoo News. But she added that such a message only reinforces the already deeply helped opinion.

“In general, Twitter can be more polarized when it comes to discourse in favor of and against mask,” Susara wrote. “I think these types of tweets will be visualized primarily in their own echo chamber.” The same is true for messages. ..

No group monopolizes incorrect information. Anti-vaccine sentiment has long been plagued by the wellness community, even before the arrival of the coronavirus.And some progressive outlets continue to say that face-to-face schools are unsafe, despite countless scientific studies and professionals. e.

Many of the same digital tools that allow millions of people to work from home or see distant relatives during a pandemic contribute to the political climate, and civil servants are false conspiracy. I don’t know how to counter the hints.

Vaccine opposition protesters gathered in front of the Capitol during a demonstration in Albany, NY, on January 5, 2022.  (Eren Abdullahogullar / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Vaccine protesters gathered in front of the Capitol during a demonstration in Albany, NY, on January 5, 2022. (Eren Abdullahogullar / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“The general public has sincerely received information most relevant to their personal situation, including fake news, and used it to formulate their own interpretation of the pandemic.” In a paper on the corrosive effects that false information had in response to a pandemic.

After all, the difficulty of defining false information may simply be a testament to the destroyed nature of 2022 reality.

“People may mistakenly believe that the photo is from this year,” says Professor Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College. , Spoke to Yahoo News in a text message. “Knowing that it’s from last year is contextual. On the other hand, some people may still feel sad, even if it takes years.”

Indeed, the Libs of Tik Tok tweets were displayed at the right time to exploit the growing department of masking at school. In that narrow space, the tweet was a huge success.

How does vaccination rate affect the latest COVID surges? Check out this explainer on Yahoo Immersive to find out.