The dangerous pseudo-treatment known as chlorine dioxide, “Miracle Mineral Solution,” or MMS has made a return to Facebook, a Motherboard investigation shows, and its use is being advocated for in several private groups. A few years after Facebook shut down a group run by Kerri Rivera, one of MMS's biggest promoters, she, too, has made a return to the platform and is dispensing advice in at least one of those groups. Motherboard viewed posts that show Rivera claiming that chlorine dioxide can cure “pre-cancer” as well as typhoid, autism, parasites, and a variety of other serious illnesses and disorders.
The Food and Drug Administration and other public health bodies have warned numerous times against the use of MMS or chlorine dioxide. The FDA calls chlorine dioxide “a powerful bleaching agent that has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.” Nonetheless, it’s an incredibly resilient bogus cure, reappearing on social platforms with some regularity; Rivera currently runs at least two groups on the platform Telegram advocating for its use. Motherboard previously reported on an apparent medical emergency in one of another of her groups, which has now apparently been shut down by Rivera, where a parent who said he’d been giving his son chlorine dioxide treatments reported having to take the boy to the hospital after his limbs began stiffening and he experienced persistent vomiting and diarrhea.
Rivera’s return to Facebook is particularly concerning, given the company’s global reach and long history of failing to contain both political and scientific misinformation.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment from Motherboard. The company has claimed in recent years that it is making a concerted effort to ban harmful pseudoscientific theories from proliferating on the platform. Facebook has removed content like the extremely false Plandemic video under the logic that it promoted “imminent harm” by making dangerous suggestions (among other things, the star of Plandemic, Judy Mikovits, claimed that wearing a mask would make you sick). The site also recently cracked down on one of the largest purveyors of anti-vaccine misinformation, Larry Cook, who said on November 17 that his Facebook and Twitter accounts had been deleted; gone too is his enormous anti-vaccine Facebook Group, Stop Mandatory Vaccination. (Cook, who’s also begun promoting QAnon theories this year, took up again without missing a beat on Parler and on his personal website.)
But while Facebook has made a fitful and belated effort to prevent the spread of anti-vaccine ideas, the site is still full of other forms of pseudoscience, including ads for bogus cancer cures, and, as Motherboard found, many private groups explicitly devoted to MMS/chlorine dioxide.
Several of the groups have nearly 2,000 members and use “Miracle Mineral Solution” or chlorine dioxide in their group names. There are also a number of active Facebook groups and pages related to the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, a Florida outfit which has long promoted MMS. (In August 2020, a U.S. District Court in Florida issued a permanent injunction instructing Genesis II to stop selling or distributing MMS products.) The groups are in both English and Spanish; chlorine dioxide use in South and Central America appears to be growing. The Bolivian Senate signed a bill legalizing the production of chlorine dioxide in July, and as Business Insider reported, the country’s health minister advocated its use in a press conference on Sunday.
Motherboard was first alerted to the groups by Fiona O’Leary, an activist in Ireland who advocates for the rights of people with autism and has spent years calling for people who promote chlorine dioxide treatments and other pseudo-medical treatments to be kicked off social media platforms or even jailed. A VICE News editor using his real name was then able to join the private MMS group Rivera belongs to and confirm the comments she has made there.
“It’s awful,” O’Leary said of Rivera’s return. “She’s been away from Facebook for years.” O’Leary takes the promotion of MMS particularly personally; she is on the autism spectrum herself, as are some of her five children, and is horrified by the promotion of these products as a purported “cure” for autism.
“My Autistic children and all Autistic people deserve to not be exploited and abused on their platform,” she told Motherboard, referring to Facebook.
In the private group titled “Miracle Mineral Solution,” Rivera advocated for the use of chlorine dioxide to treat many serious illnesses.
“I LOVE chlorine dioxide,” she wrote in one comment directed at another user. “It is the truth that has changed my life and shown me what MISSION means. 1,600+ autism recoveries and tens of thousands better, healed, and healing. Parents with Lyme, CFS, MS etc recovered too.”
In another comment, Rivera directed a woman who said her family member was suffering from typhoid to treat the sick person with chlorine dioxide.
Rivera also claimed that autism rates are higher among “military families due to more vaccines than the general public,” a statement that is both false and falsely links vaccines to autism, a connection that has been repeatedly debunked. And she advocated for chlorine dioxide as a cure for “pre-cancer” on the skin, another claim that has no basis in fact.
Rivera also “liked” a comment asking if chlorine dioxide could “prevent chronic form [sic] of COVID-19." The FDA sent her and her company, KetoKerri LLC, a warning letter in April, telling her and the company to stop promoting products which misleadlingly claimed to “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure” COVID-19, the FDA’s words.
Rivera did not directly respond to an email from Motherboard seeking comment. On her website, she has an all-purpose response to members of the media, which denies that chlorine dioxide is dangerous and asserts that journalists who cover her and MMS “have been actively coordinating with abusive Internet trolls who have been caught harassing families of children with autism,” a claim for which she provides no evidence.
However, minutes after Motherboard sent Rivera a request for comment, she copied and pasted our email into the group, disgustedly alerting its members to the presence of what she calls “trolls,” her word for activists and journalists reporting on her activities. (Rivera also incorrectly speculated that I joined the group using an alias; I did not.)
“So sad, so pathetic,” Rivera wrote above the screenshot. “Even saying I recommend pre-cancer treatment. I say what I have seen to work.”
December 3: A Facebook spokesperson responds, “Our policies prohibit promoting and instructing how to use non-medical drugs including Miracle Mineral Solution. We’re reviewing these Groups and will take action against any that violate our rules.”
Update: This story has been updated with Facebook comment.