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Mark Zuckerberg Just Posted A Photograph That Sent Anti-Vaxxers Insane


Stephen Luntz

Stephen has a science degree with a major in physics, an arts degree with majors in English Literature and History and Philosophy of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication.

Freelance Writer

591 Mark Zuckerberg Just Posted A Photograph That Sent Anti-Vaxxers Insane
Mark Zuckerberg and daughter Max with the photograph that sent vaccine opponents apoplectic. Credit: Mark Zuckerberg

The decision by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to vaccinate their daughter Max has prompted a response from anti-vaccinators, and it's even uglier than their usual behavior. More than just an horrific insight into the worst of human nature, the reaction exposes some of the thinking that drives the movement.

Zuckerberg and Chan have taken to documenting Max's development on Zuckerberg's Facebook page, hardly unusual for proud parents to do these days, and no doubt something this particular couple hopes others will emulate. Last week they posted a photo of Max on Zuckerberg's lap with the caption “Doctor's visit – time for vaccines!” Over 3 million people liked the post. Quite a few, however, didn't.


At the time of writing there had been 72,337 comments. Most were supportive, or delighting in Max's onsie, but plenty are hostile.

At the milder end are those telling the parents their decision is a mistake. Common themes are repeating the thoroughly refuted claim that vaccines cause autism and alleging, “There are no independent, double blind, placebo tests done on vaccines.” The latter claim would be news to the numerous researchers doing just that.

Then there are the cynics who think it's all a lie, suggesting Zuckerberg hopes to lead other parents astray. “I do not believe this at all. Just plain old publicity for vaccines,” someone named Shelia Schiffmann proclaimed. “Who is he kidding. Not me for sure. Who is paying him to do this? I'll bet that baby will get no vaccines, who is with me.”

One of the many anti-vax comments, and the burning retort.


Some go even further. The Facebook page Refutations to Anti-Vaccine memes did the hard work of seeking out the worst examples, including one that read “I hope you kid f**king dies so you wake up and stop being a cia puppet you fucking piece of ugly dog shit f*ck.” Another went with, “Oh that's good, be [sic] already has clothes for the baby in the autism colors, that might just come in hand one day.”

The anti-vaccination movement often tries to present itself as merely standing up for choice and bodily autonomy, fighting for the right of parents to vaccinate, or not, as they wish. The sheer volume of hate that continues to spew forth at Zucckerberg's innocuous post, however, suggests something very different – a desire to prevent even those parents aware of the benefits of vaccines from using them.

Anti-vaxxers have picked the wrong set of parents if they hope to change minds, however. Chan qualified as a pediatrician from the University of California, San Francisco, so despite commentators claims that, “doctors receive little information about vaccines at medical school” she will know far more about the topic than any of these keyboard warriors.


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  • anti-vaccination,

  • Conspiracy theories,

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  • online abuse.