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Bleach Promoted as “Miracle” Treatment for Diseases on YouTube

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  • Jim Humble, a former Scientologist and founder of his own church, claims that the powerful industrial bleach – chlorine dioxide – can help treat a long list of diseases and disorders including HIV, cancer, and more.
  • This information spread widely on YouTube and Facebook, where several posts encouraging the practice have been shared.
  • The method has also been used by some parents who have given the chemical to their children in hopes of curing their autism, despite seeing several severe side effects.
  • YouTube and Facebook have said they are actively working to remove these types of posts from their platforms.

How Did This Start?

A mass spread of misinformation on YouTube and Facebook has resulted in parents giving their children chlorine dioxide, or bleach, as a “treatment” for autism.

The movement of using chlorine dioxide as a medical solution was started by Jim Humble. Humble is a former Scientologist and founder of his own church, the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing.

He calls the substance “Miracle Mineral Solution” or MMS., which he says he discovered in 1996 while prospecting for gold in South America. He says that during his trip, he used the chemical compound to heal someone with a case of malaria.

Humble claims that MMS can treat “most diseases known to mankind,” including M.S., H.I.V., cancer, autism, and more.

However, chlorine dioxide has a more common name you might recognize: bleach. It’s a potent industrial bleach typically used for stripping textiles.

While Humble claims that his MMS treatment is not a “cure” to anything, on his website he states it can “restore partial or full health to hundreds of thousands of people.”

“MMS is an oxidizer, it kills pathogens and destroys poisons,” he says in regards to how he believes it works.  “When these are reduced or eliminated in the body, then the body can function properly and thereby heal.”

However, most medical leaders say that ingesting this substance is dangerous and even lethal.

The FDA says they have no proof that chlorine dioxide can treat any disease. Health Canada even issued a statement back in 2015 calling it “dangerous to health.” Two deaths in the United States have also been potentially linked to its use.

In 2015, the Department of Justice arrested someone for marketing and selling the product. In a statement, they expanded upon the effects of the chemical.

“Chlorine dioxide is a potent agent used to bleach textiles, among other industrial applications,” the statement reads. “Chlorine dioxide is a severe respiratory and eye irritant that can cause nausea, diarrhea and dehydration.

However, because of the spread of misinformation online, people do use it. In fact, on his website, Humble lists where it can be purchased and also encourages people to make it themselves.

Misnformation Spreads on YouTube

As for how the misinformation regarding MMS has traveled, according to a report from Business Insider, YouTube might be the culprit.

There is a community of people promoting MMS as legitimate medicine. Humble used to have a channel of his own, but it no longer exists.  When YouTube became aware of Business Insider’s report, they took down numerous videos and channels pertaining to MMS.

But still, when “MMS Treatment” is entered into the search bar, the first page of results shows several testimonials from individuals who claim they have used it, as well as other videos advocating for its use.

According to Business Insider, before the videos were taken down, the top MMS videos had been seen by three million people collectively.

MMS Used in Ugonda

The use of MMS has also spread worldwide. On Saturday, The Guardian released a report alleging that an American pastor has trained people to administer MMS in Uganda. The substance is believed to have been given to around 50,000 people in Uganda to fight diseases like malaria.

U.S. Mission Uganda has responded to the news in a tweet, saying that the substance is “extremely dangerous and is NOT a cure for any disease.”

Use of MMS for Autism

MMS has also become popular as a “treatment” for autism. However, Humble is not the man fully credited for this movement. An NBC News report gives this credit to Kerri Rivera.

Rivera claims that chlorine dioxide cured her son of autism. She wrote a book about it, which was removed from Amazon.

She also had a YouTube page, but it can no longer be accessed. However several videos featuring her are still available.

Rivera even has a website, where she says 510 kids have recovered from autism using chlorine dioxide. On the site, she offers specific consulting regarding the chemical.

In various private Facebook groups, she has promoted her product to parents looking to “cure” their children’s autism.

NBC’s report follows two women, Melissa Eaton, and Amanda Seigler, who have inserted themselves as moles within these pages since 2016.

Since then, they have seen parents post about forcing their kids to take MMS, despite the fact that their children are experiencing severe side effects. These side effects include trouble breathing, vomiting, rashes, and abdominal pain. Some parents even mention their children screaming when being forced to take the substance.

The two have reported 100 parents to Child Protective Services since joining the group. However, as of now, they do not know if actions were taken in any of those cases.

Platforms Respond

YouTube responded to Business Insider regarding the videos on their platform. The company said it was working to remove or suppress some videos promoting the use of MMS.

“Misinformation is a difficult challenge and any misinformation on medical topics is especially concerning,” the statement reads.

“We’ve taken a number of steps to address this including surfacing more authoritative content across our site for people searching for related topics on YouTube. However, our Community Guidelines prohibit content intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm, and we work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate these policies.”

Facebook also said they were removing groups directly related to Rivera.

“We believe in giving people a voice,” they said in a statement to NBC. “But we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe.”

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (Business Insider) (The Guardian)

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Elijah Daniel Buys Michigan Town and Renames It “Gay Hell”

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  • Social media star Elijah Daniel has purchased the small town of Hell, Michigan and renamed it “Gay Hell,” where only pride flags can be flown.
  • Daniel says the move was made in response to the Trump administration recently rejecting requests to fly pride flags on flagpoles at U.S. embassies during Pride Month.
  • He hopes that presenting issues in fun or humorous ways will encourage his young audience to become involved in politics.

Gay Hell

Social media influencer Elijah Daniel is making headlines again for another creative stunt he pulled to bring attention to LGBTQ issues.

On Monday, the 25-year-old comedian and internet personality announced that he had purchased a small town in Michigan named Hell and has renamed it “Gay Hell.”

In a tweet revealing the move, Daniel explained that he purchased the town in response to the Trump administration recently rejecting requests from U.S. embassies to fly the pride flag on flagpoles during Pride Month.

“Ahead of pride month Trump’s administration put a ban on embassy’s flying pride flags,” he wrote. “So as of today, I am now the owner of Hell, Michigan.”

“The only flags allowed to fly are pride,” Daniel added.

Daniel also included photos from his newly renamed town. “Gay Hell, Mi has everything. A library, a place to lock your love in Gay Hell, and even a WEDDING CHAPEL TO GET GAY MARRIED IN HELL!”

As far as why he purchased Hell, Daniel told NBC News, “I have a young audience who is 16 to 24 who would not be involved in politics if it wasn’t in a funny or meme way.”

“I’m just trying to have fun and get my audience politically active.”

Daniel did not reveal how much it cost him to purchased Gay Hell, but he did confirm that he will only be the temporary owner of the town.  According to the Detroit Free Press, the five-acre town is a commercial property that was on the market in 2016 for about $900,000.

Responses

His move was praised by many on social media. Massive beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star tweeted that he was also interested in purchasing land in Gay Hell.

Musician Awsten Knight, a member of the band Waterparks, and YouTuber Jessie Paege tweeted about wanting to go to the town.

U.S. Flag Policy

Outrage over the flag policy sparked earlier this month after NBC News reported that U.S. embassies in at least four countries were denied the ability to fly the pride flag during Pride Month. Those four countries were Israel, Germany, Brazil, and Latvia.

The report noted that during the Obama administration, the government had granted blanket permission to embassies overseas to fly the pride flag during June. But State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a press conference last week that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “has the position that, as it relates to the flagpole, that only the American flag should be flown there.”

Vice President Mike Pence also defended the move, telling NBC News that “it’s the right decision.”

“When it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” Pence said.

Pence also said that the administration had “put no restrictions” on the pride flag or other flags flying elsewhere at U.S. embassies.

Previous Acts

This is far from Daniel’s first eye-catching act linked to LGBT issues and politics. In August of 2017, the social media star made headlines when he served as the mayor of Hell for one day and banned straight people. He was impeached shortly after.

At that time he said the move was in response to Trump’s travel ban. “My ban is a copy-and-paste of Trump’s Muslim ban, but with heterosexuals instead,” he told HuffPost at the time.


That same year he released “The Holy Bible But Gayer,” in which God is Rihanna, Donald Trump is Satan, Eve is renamed Steve, and Jesus turns water into mimosas.

In 2016 Daniel stated on Twitter that he was going to get drunk and write an erotic novel starring Donald Trump. A few hours later, he published Trump Temptations: The Billionaire & The Bellboy.

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (CNN) (Mashable)


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Are Instagram Influencers Flocking to Chernobyl? Not Exactly

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  • On Sunday, a tweet called out “Instagram Influencers” for using Chernobyl as a backdrop for their social media posts.
  • The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was home to one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in 1986.
  • After a closer look, it seems that the visitors in the viral post are not all “Instagram influencers” as the tweet suggest, but instead regular tourists.
  • Since the airing of the HBO series Chernobyl, the site has a 30 to 40 percent increase in visitors.

The Viral Tweet

A tweet posted Sunday that criticizes Instagram influencers for treating Chernobyl like a new photo hot spot went viral, but that’s not exactly the case.

The tweet shows four pictures of different “influencers” using the toxic nuclear power plant as the backdrop for their photos.

However, after further investigation, it seems that only the first photo of a woman in protective gear was shared by a user with a significant following. That user is Julia Baessler, who has over 300,000 followers.

The other three photos were taken from Instagram accounts with much lower follower counts, ranging from 200 to 1,500.

On top of that, as many social media users have pointed out, in her caption, Baessler, talks about the terrible tragedy that took place at Chernobyl. “Yesterday I had the chance to visit one of the most fascinating but also most terrible places on earth- control room number 4 ChNPP,” her caption read.

The actions taken in this room 33 years ago led to the worlds worst nuclear disaster. Standing there is just indescribable, it’s shocking and something I will never forget :pray:”

Baessler further explained her trip in an interview with Business Insider.

Because of the engineering work of my boyfriend we were able to get a special admission to go inside control room 4 which is actually not accessible for visitors,” Baessler told BI. “I left those stories online because they are full of informations [sic] and I really want to spread them but I don’t want to be seen as an influencer going to Chernobyl because it’s trendy now. that’s not true,”

Another photo from the tweet showcased a man holding a Geiger counter, an instrument used for detecting radiation. The Instagram user who posted the photo actually wasn’t the photographer or the person in the image. He only reposted it. Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, took the photo back in October of 2006.

The woman who posed next to the burnt bus, Irene Vivch, said she posted the photo because she is from Ukraine and stated so in her caption. She called the site, “an eternal monument to the horrid cruelty of the Soviet regime.”

Vivch told the Atlantic, “Chernobyl made a massive impression on me … So I made a big Instagram post about it describing my feelings.”

Trips to Chernobyl

In May, HBO aired a new series, Chernobyl, that focused on the 1986 nuclear reactor malfunction at the power plant that caused radioactive particles to cover the surrounding area. At least 30 plant operators and first responders died in the weeks following the accident. To this day, there is still debate on the total possible deaths from cancer caused by the radioactivity, with estimations between 9,000 and 115,000.

According to reports, since the release of the show, trips to the site have jumped dramatically. One tour guide has said in the month of May alone, trips increased 30 percent. The guide also added that trips for the rest of the summer were up 40 percent.

“Many people come here, they ask a lot of questions about the TV show, about all the events. People are getting more and more curious,”  Viktoria Brozhko, a tour guide, told Reuters.

Craig Mazin, the writer and executive producer of the HBO series, responded on Tuesday to the impact his show has had. In his post, he reminded people visiting the area to have respect for those who suffered from the tragedy that occurred there.

Chernobyl is not the first site of a tragedy to be used as an Instagram background. In 2014, a girl took a smiling selfie at the concentration camp, Auschwitz and she received massive backlash. The concentration camp museum even tweeted this past March asking people to people respect the site.

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (The Atlantic) (Reuters)

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Drug Charges Against Russian Reporter Dropped After Protests

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  • Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was released Tuesday after Russian officials dropped drug charges that had been brought against him last week.
  • Golunov said that he had been framed because of his reporting on government corruption.
  • Russian journalists responded by launching a multi-day protest, and prominent Russian newspapers called for his release in a move experts have said was unprecedented.

Golunov Released

Russian government authorities dropped drug trafficking charges against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov Tuesday, following significant backlash and protests from Russian journalists and media over his arrest.

Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev said in a statement that the charges had been dropped because of a lack of evidence.

“According to the results of biological, forensic and fingerprint examinations and DNA testing, a decision was made to terminate the criminal prosecution of citizen Ivan Golunov due to the lack of evidence of his participation in the crime,” Kolokoltsev said in the statement.

Golunov was arrested and detained by police on Thursday, and after an invasive search, the officers claimed to have found drugs in his backpack. The police also said they found more drugs and other paraphernalia when they searched his apartment.

He was later charged with drug trafficking and taken to prison, though he denied the charges and said he was framed because of his reporting on high-level Russian corruption.

Suspicion Around Arrest

Others were quick to echo Golunov’s accusation against the police.

Golunov, who is well-known in Russia for his investigative work, had been writing for an online publication called Meduza, which is Russian-owned but is operated in Latvia to avoid persecution.

Following Golunov’s arrest, Meduza published a statement online defending him and arguing that his imprisonment was politically motivated. “We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent,” the statement said. “Moreover, we have reason to believe that Goll-Loo-Noff is being persecuted because of his journalistic activities.”

Meduza also outlined suspicious activities surrounding Golunov’s arrest. According to the statement, Golunov’s lawyers requested that the police test his hands and nails to see if he had touched narcotics. The police refused.

Meduza also said that Golunov had been beaten by police when he was detained, but when he and his lawyer requested he go to a hospital he was again denied. Meduza additionally noted that Golunov had received threats over his work in recent months

Following the arrest, the police launched their own publicity campaign, publishing nine “incriminating” pictures of drugs and a pharmaceutical scale that they claimed they took at Golunov’s apartment.

However, several journalists quickly established that the pictures were not actually taken in his apartment. Shortly after, the police backtracked and admitted that most of the pictures were in fact taken elsewhere.

After the police fumble, even the Russian government acknowledged that there was conflicting information in the case.

“We have paid attention to the corrections that were later published, and we also proceed from the fact that there are several issues that are in need of a clarification,” a Kremlin spokesman said.

Protests

On Friday, Russian journalists launched a protest in front of the police headquarters in Moscow.

Under Russian law, protestors are required to get permits two weeks before planned demonstrations, but the protestors came up with a clever solution. Instead of all protesting together, activists took turns standing one at a time and holding a sign for 15 minutes or so and then passing the post off to the next person.

People lined up down the block to take turns to be the one-person protest. Reportedly, the line was so long that people waited for hours.

Unsurprisingly, police special forces moved quickly to detain about a dozen protestors, including some prominent Russian journalists who were held in custody for a little while before being released.

However, the line kept getting longer and longer, and those protests continued all weekend, even moving to the court where Golunov was set to appear for a hearing.

At the same time, a number of Russian celebrities and artists took to social media to call for Golunov’s release, and argued that his arrest was a violation of freedom of speech and an important test case for rule of law.

Russian Newspapers Express Support

The most surprising move came on Monday, when three leading Russian business newspapers published the same exact front pages with the headline: “I/We are Ivan Golunov.”

While all three of those newspapers are private rather than state-owned, all of them are usually very loyal to the Russian government.

After that, even a few very prominent pro-government broadcasters express skepticism about the case. Additionally, a petition calling for Golunov’s release reportedly received 7,500 signatures from other journalists, including those who worked for state-owned outlets.

As a result, experts have described the act as an unprecedented expression of solidarity with another journalist, as well as an unprecedented defiance of the Kremlin.

While Golunov’s release is an exciting and watershed moment for journalists in Russia, many wonder if it is just a one-off occurrence. Russia has long been criticized for its treatment of independent journalists, and just recently, have significantly ramped up their censorship efforts in the past few months.

In March, Vladimir Putin signed two new laws that would punish anyone who spread “fake news” or insulted the government with heavy fines and jail time. Under those laws, online media can be reported to the government, which then can block access to websites if the content that violates the law.

Golunov’s arrest was also not an isolated incident. On Friday, Meduza published an article listing 8 other journalists and activists who have gotten prison time for “drug charges” over the last few years.

See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (CNN) (BBC)

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