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Not long ago, say about 6 weeks, there was a Facebook page called Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children (PPUC). Its purpose was to celebrate having children who were unvaccinated so as to trade suggestions and advice about how to keep kids unvaccinated. That advice ranged from merely misinformed to utterly bizarre. It was a hotbed of conspiracy theory, new age, libertarian, pseudo-science, outright lies and deception. It had over 25,000 “Likes”; over 25,000 people who received every post made on the site by the administrators or contributors. It would ban anyone who had a different point of view. It would ban anyone who asked awkward questions. It would ban anyone who would dare to refute their outrageous claims. It had been going for years.
Then along came someone named Craig Egan. No one knows if he’s a real person or not. He has become a mythological being to promoters of the anti-vaccine bible. He may be a fictional creation of someone unknown. He may be a group of people working together – think Anonymous. Over a relatively short period of time he made his presence felt on the PPUC page. He would comment. He would question. He would sometimes ridicule. He’d be banned by the page administrator but somehow he’d reappear. He would “Like” posts and comments as Craig Egan even after he’d been banned multiple times. He made it clear that he was opposed to the promotion of anti-vaccine nonsense, he considered it a blot on the landscape and he’d be happy to see it disappear. And about 6 weeks ago PPUC pulled up stakes on their 25,000+ subscribers and vanished into the night. The administrators couldn’t take the heat, turned on one another and the page was no more. I am the adminstrator of a Facebook page called The Anti-Anti-Vaccine Campaign. I also wanted to decrease the amount of anti-vaccination propaganda on Facebook, but I set my sites much lower. My idea was to call on a large number of people to challenge their own “friends” on their own newsfeeds and ask them to stop posting on the topic. While I’ve had some support it hasn’t been a roaring success. I think the reason is simple. I challenged the few friends on my newsfeed who posted anti-vaccine propaganda and asked them to stop. They did. I can’t remember the last time a friend posted anything about vaccines that I found offensive. The challenge was too small or too simple. People will either challenge propaganda or just let it go to avoid offending friends. A campaign like mine, while well meaning, isn’t going to change the world. But Craig Egan might. Apparently on his own he brought down one of the biggest anti-vaccination Facebook pages in the world. An impressive feat. One that he can be rightly proud of, assuming he actually exists. And his story continues. He doesn’t seem to sleep or grow weary. I was only vaguely aware of what was happening on PPUC until the story was already over. Since then I’ve been paying attention. While his name keeps appearing on a large number of anti-vaccination Facebook pages, his attention has more recently been focussed on pages run by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny DO. Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines had in excess of 37, 000 “Likes”. She has been an outspoken opponent of Vaccination for many years. She makes a lot of money out of being opposed to vaccines. While she no longer practices medicine she freely uses a “trust me, I’m a doctor” approach to make her points. Her information is just as pseudo-scientific and wrong as all the other anti-vaccine dumbasses. For the last month Craig Egan has been paying attention to Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines. His name has appeared constanstantly on her page. In the list of “Likes”, his name was appearing, sometimes multiple times on each post. Other names started to appear as well. Names like Revoke Tenpenny’s Medical License, Report Anti-Vaccination Health Practitioners, Dr Tenpenny is a Quack, and many more. I find it hard to believe that one man could do all that, but Tenpenny apparently thought so. A video of someone named Craig Egan singing karaoke appeared on her site. Information about the workplace of a Craig Egan appeared. A new name started appear in the “Likes”: Tenpenny caught Cyberstalking Craig Egan. Dr Tenpenny’s site has not been seen in the last 48 hours. I had it bookmarked, and when I select that bookmark I end up back on my own Facebook timeline. Dr Tenpenny seems to have fallen victim to Craig Egan. Either she couldn’t handle the criticism and ridicule or she actually feared for her medical license. I don’t know and can’t find any explanation from her. In any case her platform on Facebook is apparently gone. It looks like Craig Egan has claimed another pelt. Craig Egan is feared and loathed by anti-vaccination loons all over Facebook. They don’t know what he’s going to do next. They don’t understand how he can be so many places at once, and no matter how many times he’s banned he keeps coming back. I don’t know what going to happen in the world of anti-vaccination, but I for one support Craig Egan’s efforts. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m glad he does. What the anti-vaccine crazies are doing is shouting Fire! in a crowded theatre. They have the right to say what they want, but I support the right of the Craig Egans of this world to ridicule and shout them down. On ya Craig! ; ;