Bleach Promoted as “Miracle” Treatment for Diseases on YouTube
- 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.
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)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Associated Press) (People)
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.