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"More than 200 people in the UK died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine" – reads the headline from an article published on the right-wing portal Magnapolonia.org. It was shared by the “official” Facebook profile of Grzegorz Braun, a prominent member of the neoliberal far-right Confederation (Konfederacja). His page has nearly 200.000 followers.
The victims supposedly include "8 unborn children". In the comments section, someone writes: "Thousands have died already, but the information is being censored and manipulated. 48% more people died in nursing homes in January than during the entire pandemic. The government boasts that 80% of them got their first vaccine dose! That’s Holocaust!"
"In one of the nursing homes in the UK, 18 residents have died only in the past 8 days. Unfortunately, no one’s even talking about it"- adds Sylwia.
"Well, that's the whole point. This is genocide. The world is overpopulated. The question is who gets to decide who lives and who dies!" - answers Teresa from New Jersey, USA. She has 45 friends on Facebook and claims to work as a 'scientist'.
Marek: "The entire purpose of the COVID-19 vaccine is to depopulate the world. Most people who get the shot will probably die within the next 5 years. The effects won't be immediate, lest the sheeple run away".
Commenting on a similar article – this one reporting an entirely different number of alleged vaccine "victims" in Britain – someone posts a meme depicting a line to a gas chamber in a concentration camp with the caption: "They're going to take a bath." Below, an image of people waiting outside a hospital subtitled: "They're going to get vaccinated...".
Zbigniew writes: "It's not a vaccine, it's a drug to euthanize people. In 1943, Pfizer developed the typhus virus that Josef Mengele injected concentration camp prisoners."
"It's funny how willing people are to get slaughtered"- adds Jurek.
Who is fueling the anti-vaccination propaganda and online hate?
The main Facebook group bringing together supporters of Grzegorz Braun serves as an outlet for various pandemic-related frustrations. It has a following of nearly 80.000 users, many of whom turn to Covid-19 conspiracy theories to find a simple explanation for the burgeoning pandemic chaos. According to Dr. Daniel Jolley, a psychologist at Northumbria University in Newcastle, such theories allow their proponents to single out specific groups and blame them for anything whatsoever.
Concrete individuals with links to the Confederation party are adding fuel to the pandemic-induced fire of fear and frustration by spreading toxic content on social media. They utilize an entire network of “independent journalism” portals, pages, and groups which are often a hotbed of conspiracy theories and online hate.
Running the Facebook group for Grzegorz Braun supporters are, among others:
Wojciech Kempa, editor at Magnapolonia.or, also managing Grzegorz Braun’s official fanpage;
Michał Wojtak, a journalist and former admin of the now-deleted official Facebook profile of Janusz Korwin-Mikke;
Tomasz Kalinowski, director of the Media Narodowe (National Media) television and web portal, vice president of the Independence Day March Association, and former spokesperson for the far-right National Radical Camp (ONR);
Jakub Zgierski, columnist/commentator and owner of, among others, the Propolski.pl web portal.
Anna Mierzyńska, a public-sector marketing expert, explains that the Confederation is the only political party in Poland that represents all those who still haven’t decided whether they want to get vaccinated or not. The party is drawing their attention and gradually expands its base.=
“The same effect as a gas chamber”
"Just 8 minutes after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, he lost his consciousness and died. Doctors: This is unrelated" – reads a piece published on the Propolski.pl website, shared by the administrators of the Facebook group for Grzegorz Braun supporters.
"It’s euthanasia, straight and simple. And yet people are lining up for a vaccine that is still in the testing phase, like sheep. People, wake up, time is running out" - Kinga writes.
Paweł comments: "Doctors know what’s going on, they inject themselves saline solution instead of the real thing". Someone adds: “It will have the same effect as a gas chamber”.
“We need to kill these f*ckers”
An article from Magnapolonia.org with the headline "Government spokesman: We might need to bring back restrictions" ends up being posted on the group’s wall. "And what the f*ck are they waiting for? Instructions from Jewry?!" - Kamil asks in the comments section.
"Let's take off our masks, makes no sense to walk around in these muzzles- adds Maja. - And maybe it's time for this government to step down already?".
Stefan replies: "We have to kill these f*ckers, maybe intimidate their families. They’ll pay with their heads”.
Michał: "Maybe they’ll have to be shot.
"Face masks are useless"
The group’s moderators also post a link to a YouTube video published on the channel of Telewizja Republika- a television station generously subsidized by the government. It features an interview with Dr. Mariusz Błochowiak: the author of the book “False Pandemic”. - From a scientific point of view, face masks are useless when it comes to protecting us from respiratory tract infections, be it influenza or the coronavirus. All the studies show the same thing: masks are not effective at all, people who wear them get infected just the same- he says.
The host asks him whether this is the reason why he encourages people to engage in acts of civil disobedience: “not wearing masks and not accepting fines"?
- One of the physics professors makes exactly this argument- Mr. Błochowiak replies. – You can’t force anyone to use something that doesn’t deliver on its protective function. Masks are becoming a symbol of enslavement, and a reminder of a pandemic that does not exist- he adds.
The video has over 20.000 views.
„Jews simply enjoy being marked”
"To me, this looks like terror, dictatorship, and a slowly-unfolding genocide. All these ecological and other similar actions, epidemics, and pandemics in recent years, have only been a psychological exercise to ease our societies into thinking that this is inevitable”- reads a comment posted by Rafał under an article headlined "Israel: 4 million people vaccinated, Netanyahu: You will be able to go out and enjoy theater, cinema, sports!".
Rafał is also convinced that it is all about "the centralization of state power, taking away rights, freedoms and living space, introducing electronic control and surveillance”.
Janina uploads a meme featuring the Star of David and a smiling Jew wearing an American flag. The caption reads: "We will soon cut off your internet, Polish Goyim." Her profile is full of misinformation about vaccines and anti-Semitic content, such as a fake George Rapaport quote: "Anti-Semitism? In Poland? It exists- of course. Except that this simple folk doesn’t even realize that at this point we control 70% of their business". She also promotes a poster saying: "If your loved one died shortly after receiving a vaccine, you can count on us for support. Stop NOP". It is part of a campaign by the National Association of Vaccination Awareness "Stop NOP", whose leaders also happen to be Grzegorz Braun’s assistants for social issues.
The website Propolski.pl shares a text about "strange news from Israel" - describing how the Israeli government is easing lockdown restrictions. "There is a catch - writes the author. - Only those who recovered or got vaccinated will be able to enjoy their freedoms. Israeli citizens will soon be able to download a special app equipped with barcode certificates proving that they have been vaccinated or already had the coronavirus".
"If I remember correctly, identification numbers were already assigned to prisoners in concentration camps...is this some sort of a big comeback?" - asks someone on Braun's fan group. A user named Grzegorz, with a white and red parachute in his profile picture, replies: "Jews simply enjoy being marked". "They have a sentiment for codes, tattoos" – Paweł adds.
Rafał: "They agreed to be given identification numbers like in a concentration camp. Terrible. A flashback from the past."
"They are proud of it. This is a totally different human species - that's why we will never understand them. Sooner or later they will disappear, with a bang" - writes Adam, a computer scientist from Warsaw.
"The chosen people ... chosen to be vaccinated and labeled like livestock" adds Alicja from Warsaw, a public health graduate working at a private medical company.
In the comments section of a different article, someone writes about Health Minister Adam Niedzielski: "I wonder what his real name is. I know he's a Jew". "Poland does not need Niedzielski” - writes Jacek, and Iwona replies: "And all the rest of these Jews, too".
The billionaire Bill Gates is also an object of hate on the websites and groups run by people associated with the Confederation. An article from Propolski.pl: "Bill Gates warns of a new disease. Could kill up to 30 million people".
"Kill this f*cker" – Łukasz writes. "Shoot him" - comments Tomasz, pictured with his wife and three daughters (he is holding one of them in his arms). Beata (pictured with the Confederation logo) adds: "Haaalo, I'm looking for a reliable assassin to hire". Waldemar: "Hand him!”.
Another entry from Mr. Zgierski's Propolski.pl website: "Bill Gates' daughter ridicules conspiracy theories: Sadly, my father's genius was not implanted in my brain".
In the comments section, a user named Cezary writes: "Cut the crap. Idiot took after her daddy. We’ll give you a second dose of the vaccine intended for ordinary people and vaccinate you personally, then we'll see if you’re so happy about that. No one will ever believe that you got vaccinated with a real vaccine (probably saline solution or a retractable needle), because if something happened after you got vaccinated, dumbass, Daddy's plan would fall apart after 5 minutes. He wouldn't let you do that".
Another user adds, "Being scared and getting vaccinated against something that 99.9% of 24-year-olds will go through without showing any symptoms, and still ridiculing those who aren't afraid, you really have to have the IQ of an amoeba".
"He has a daughter? That sh*t he wants to implant us causes infertility. So, he doesn’t let people have children, but he has a daughter? - Grażyna wonders. - What a bastard” - she adds.
wRealu24: “BREAKING! A doctor dies 40 minutes after receiving a vaccine!”
On the Facebook group, someone also posts a video from wRealu24, a self-proclaimed “independent grassroots pro-Polish television”. It has 1600 reactions and 92.000 views. The host, Piotr Szlachtowicz, says: “Every day we learn about new post-vaccine health problems related to vaccines produced by different companies".
He adds that there are "a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns and ... a lot of deaths" surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines. He also cites "shocking" figures from the U.S. health department that "are supposedly still underreported": more than 650 people have been declared dead after receiving the vaccine, more than 12,000 had side effects.
Later, he is joined by Przemysław Jarasz, a journalist at "Głos Zabrza i Rudy Śląskiej," who describes the story of Professor Marian Pardel, dead at the age of 85. The journalist explains: "according to the detailed knowledge of the professor's widow, his death was related to the vaccine".
However, it turns out that Mr. Pardela was an "ailing man" and did not die "40 minutes after getting the vaccine" but after a few days – due to a heart attack.
- Such deaths are increasing- says Mr. Szlachtowicz. The next segment of the program includes calls from viewers. - This is pure genocide - says one of them. – Totalitarian systems order governments to commit genocide in white gloves.
- What else would have to happen for people to wake up and stop believing these thugs? People go and get vaccinated, just like a flock of sheep. There is no pandemic. There is a coronavirus, but no epidemic. Wake up - says the next viewer.
Konrad from Ireland: - I just wanted to say that it's the same where I live. There are a lot of deaths in nursing homes, some of them are swept under the carpet. The staff is bribed with thousands of euros. People are forced. I know a couple of people who were fired f because they didn't want to be vaccinated. People need to wake up.
The host responds by saying that he "is starting to get scared". - A professor of medicine loses his life after a few hours, no record of his post-vaccine complications. What is this all about? Who wants to cover this up? We’ll report on the issue anyway. Who wants to block all this? - he asks.
Facebook vowed to fight Covid-19 misinformation
On Facebook, the peculiar mixture of vaccine conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism falls on fertile ground- people whose feeling of isolation and frustration has only been amplified by the pandemic. Such theories claim rare information and secret knowledge inaccessible through mainstream media, available, by definition, only to a selected few.
They allow their believers to feel “unique”- better “informed” about the “real” purpose behind the ever-new restrictions imposed by the government. By tapping into such content, the anti-systemic far-right lures in new voters and broadens its base.
Removing conspiracy theories from social media may also produce an opposite effect of what was intended by “confirming” the suspicions of their proponent: "they are trying to hide something and silence us". Paradoxically, it can only reinforce their beliefs. Facebook and other social media platforms have long-established clear boundaries to freedom of speech: incitement to violence, hatred, and anti-Semitism.
In February, Facebook also declared that it was tightening its policy against false information about the coronavirus outbreak and vaccines. Content claiming that vaccines are not effective, that it is safer to be infected than vaccinated, and that vaccines are dangerous, was supposed to be removed from the site.
"We will begin enforcing this policy immediately, with a particular focus on Pages, groups and accounts that violate these rules, and we’ll continue to expand our enforcement over the coming weeks. Groups, Pages and accounts on Facebook and Instagram that repeatedly share these debunked claims may be removed altogether. We are also requiring some admins for groups with admins or members who have violated our COVID-19 policies to temporarily approve all posts within their group” – reads Facebook’s press release.
Yet, when asked whether articles about "people who died shortly after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine" would also be blocked, the platform stated that such content does not violate its rules. Facebook's press office was also unable to confirm whether the examples of anti-Semitic comments and false information about vaccines we sent them violate its terms of service.
The company explained that harmful content about COVID-19 and vaccines, like any other content that violates Facebook's community standards, such as hate speech, incitement to violence, or harassment, can be reported by any user. "To analyze these reports, we use AI-based systems that support Facebook's team of 35,000 safety officers, including a global team of moderators who check content in more than 50 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week" – reads the note about Facebook’s content moderation practices.
Every three months, Facebook also publishes a quarterly report on the enforcement of its rules on the platform. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2020, it removed nearly 27 million pieces of content containing hate speech and more than 6 million pieces of content classified as harassment.
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