Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Errol Denton racist accusations and live blood testing

Update 20 March 2014: Today the subject of this post was fined £9,000 for nine counts of the Cancer Act of 1939 at Westminster Magistrates Court and handed a total bill (including costs) of over £19,000. He did not attend this final court hearing and did not represent himself.

This might take a wee while to load. It's a long Storify story which captures some of the tweets by an account going under the name of @FightRacism2. The stated aim of this account is to fight racism, as the name suggests, however it seems that the actual purpose is more to hamper attempts at reducing racism by spamming people with a link to an ineffective petition thereby distracting them and wasting their time.

The account appears to be using a bait-and-switch tactic by posting two links in most of the tweets - the first is to some unambiguously repugnant example of racism, the second is to his petition which is effectively cuckoo-egged or trojan-horsed into the tweet. This is unfortunate.

It's also a bit annoying, in that the petition is calling one of my blogger friends, and me, racist simply for pointing out some misleading claims made on Errol Denton's websites about Live Blood Analysis (LBA). We're nothing of the kind and we (and loads of other people too) have reported several people to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) without paying any attention to their ethnicity, or indeed anything about them personally beyond the fact that they've made claims for which we don't think they have evidence.

I don't know for certain that whoever runs the @FightRacism2 account is the same person that runs the @ErrolDenton account (nor do I know that either of them are actually Mr Errol Denton, the nutritional microscopist with rooms in Harley Street whose business is Fitalifestyle Ltd and who runs the and websites).

Whoever writes the posts that appear on Mr Denton's blogs often writes in the third person so it is entirely possible that there are teams of people responsible for this output - after all he, or someone else, is well-used to using crowdsourcing tools such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk and ShortTask to pay people to sign misleading petitions (around 930 of the current signatures seem to have been paid-for according to screenshot timestamps), and curiously to pay people to send tweets to the Errol Denton Twitter account with the following keywords:
...though not Errol Denton four Advertising Standards Authority adjudications upheld and one addition to their non-complicant misleading advertisers, a mention in The Mirror and complaints on various forums about poor customer service. Not to mention featuring in a You & Yours programme on live blood tests being a nonsense diagnostic tool.

I presume this keyword business is some sort of Search Engine Optimisation strategy - I struggle to see how it would work on Twitter which isn't fully indexed by Google but perhaps I'm missing something here).

All very strange. Although not as strange as catching up with fellow blogger Josephine Jones' Twitter feed yesterday and learning that the BBC's latest episode of the medical drama Doctors features the following storyline: "Jimmi is caught between medical ethics and legal boundaries when he tries to expose a live blood testing consultation" - it even features the live blood analyst falsely accusing a GP of racism (quickly disproven by the fact that the GP had recorded the conversation) - has the BBC been reading our blogs?! Watch it on BBC iPlayer.

Here's the Storify. I'm putting it here on my blog because I want to give Google something else to index, the embed code is available at the original Storify page, if you click the icon marked < / >

I can't help noticing that by linking Errol Denton so strongly with the word racist both account holders (whoever's running @ErrolDenton and / or @FightRacism) might have inadvertently damaged Mr Denton's reputation somewhat, at least according to Google:

I am aware that Google personalises results, but several friends have confirmed that they see the same thing.

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).