David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe is set to arrive in Australia, so now is as good a time as any to join the”Don’t Cry Wolfe” movement. I first read about this at the start of 2016; a year on, I think we should all take the pledge. It’s really simple; stop sharing things on Facebook from the page of David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe.

If you don’t know the page I mean, check your Facebook news-feed. All those viral memes and videos full of inspirational quotes? If they aren’t branded with David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe’s name, they soon will be. I could (and probably will) say many things about the man but I have to say, he has social media down pat. If something is getting a lot of traction, he wastes no time in ripping it off, pasting his name on it and sharing it to his 9 million+ followers.

See the logo in the corner?

Who is David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe?

He is the self-described “rock star and Indiana Jones of the superfoods and longevity universe“. Does that clear up that question? Yeah, no, not for me either. He was the spokesmen for Nutribullet; an over-priced blender that claims to “extract nutrition” by blitzing up fruit and veg- much like any other powerful blender. He is associated with several websites including an online store, The Longevity Warehouse, selling everything from vitamin supplements to bedding that claims to “connect you to the Earth’s natural energy” to even more dubious products (“Longevity Zapper”, anyone?). His ” superfoods” are apparently “artisanally-sourced” and I’m not sure why it is desirable to have an artisan find your food, but anyway, that’s not the point. David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe sells nonsense. They say a fool and his money are easily parted, so who am I to object to that?

It’s not that simple.

To understand the problem with sharing Wolfe’s seemingly harmless memes and videos, you need a very basic understanding of Facebook reach. Each time you like, comment on or share a post, it puts that post into the news-feeds of your friends.

Without delving into the complicated algorithms that Facebook uses, a comment or a like is a kind mini-share. So every time you interact with a post on Facebook, you’re essentially sharing that with a portion of your Facebook friends. If you’re still scratching your head about why this is a problem, think about your friends. We all know someone who is perhaps a little naive. Maybe you know someone with a sick family member who is willing to try anything to get better. Maybe your friends do. So each share leads more people to his page. And each person who finds there way there will be potentially influenced by his memes or find their way to his store or others of a similar nature.

What’s the harm?

Source: facebook.com/DavidAvocadoWolfe

Following his page and sharing a feel-good post here and there might seem pretty innocuous. People like to feel inspired and good about themselves, right? Cute pictures, funny videos, quotes, shareable sentiments- all fairly harmless. But in among the feel-good stuff, you’ll find something else. A clear anti-science vibe, if you will. Claims about herbs and spices curing illness. Anti-vaccine posts. Flat Earth nonsense. Anti-media, anti-government- you name it; it’s there. Aside from the memes and dodgy products with his face on them, Wolfe has a blog full of articles to match. These range from anti-vaccine to anti-cancer treatment and everything in between. And every time you like or share something he posts on Facebook, you are potentially leading more people to these products and blogs.

Convenient.

While subtly reinforcing the idea that modern medicine is evil, ineffective, dangerous or corrupt, Wolfe is conveniently helping to sell alternatives. It’s a funny thing; Big Pharma and all their “science” are just trying to make a profit from sick people. The government is in on it for their slice of the pie. All of their “evidence” is corrupt, fraudulent or just lies. Alternative remedies, devices and supplements, however? Well, they aren’t made by Big Pharma so they must be fine, right? They aren’t corrupted by things like evidence, no matter how much of a word-salad people like David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe surround them with. Instead, they are unproven, unlikely and expensive.

A couple of examples:

  • The aforementioned “Longevity Zapper”, a device that has 2 copper discs on it and is recharged by plugging it into a USB drive. It’ll set you back a cool few hundred US dollars and in exchange, it zaps you with low voltage electricity all day. Why? To “boost your immune system”, of course. There’s no evidence to support this and a list of warnings about correct usage to avoid burns as well as a disclaimer calling it an “experimental” product that wont actually treat any condition.
  • How about “David Wolfe’s Ormus Gold”? For only $90 a bottle, you can get 50mg of the stuff that the website says contains “minerals that appear to be intrinsic to all life and are likely directly associated with consciousness and life-force energy.” That is just before the even longer paragraph that forms the disclaimer, including this sentence: “No claim is made or implied about the safety, efficacy, health effects, etc. of David Wolfe’s Ormus Gold.”

The disclaimers tucked in behind every vague product description speak very loudly. They tell me that David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe is well aware of the snake oil he’s selling.

Is a ‘like’ an endorsement?

So many fans give David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe an enormous platform to draw more people in. Each share or like, thanks to Facebook algorithms, gives him a free bit of advertising. Of course, liking or sharing something on Facebook doesn’t mean you endorse the person who posted it… Does it? Does it lend people like him a legitimacy that they don’t deserve? If you consider a person to be intelligent and rational, are you more inclined to trust what they share online? Are there times when even the most skeptical people are less inclined towards rationality and logic?

Absolutely. Back when my Mum was dying from cancer, I became an avid researcher of any and every possible hope. Organic food, a diet consisting solely of blueberries, shunning the microwave, not using cling film, manuka honey on everything (which conflicted with the “sugar feeds cancer” myth), alkaline water, SLS-free shampoo, reflexology,” medicinal” mushrooms, “superfoods”… You name it, I looked into it. I considered things that my rational mind recognises as utterly ridiculous, because I needed hope. I am generally pretty skeptical but impending grief, fear and anxiety isn’t always an optimal mix for a logical approach.

Don’t Cry Wolfe.

Take the pledge to stop sharing, liking or commenting on his posts on social media.

David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe isn’t the only snake oil salesman on the internet. But he is one of the most recognised on social media. What would happen if people stopped following his page or liking and sharing his posts? Maybe fewer people would waste their money on “Longevity Zappers”, for one. Perhaps there’d be less of a push toward anti-science conspiracy theories. Maybe more people would see their actual doctors for illnesses and less would try to treat dangerous health conditions with unproven and potentially dangerous remedies.

I’d like to think that no one would base a health decision on a Facebook post, but reading the comments sections leads me to believe that I’m probably wrong.

So let’s make it less likely. Let’s not expose our friends to dangerous quackery through what we share online.

 

Like it? Share it!
  • 1. Don’t ever take scientific advice from someone who gives themself ‘avocado’ as a middle name.

    2. I love Josh Thomas. He’s awesome 😊

  • Geez, I’ve got a few in my feed who share his shit all the time. It’s so ridiculous I often wonder whether he is an fake-alternative-anti-realism-news source. Either way it’s all BullShit!

  • I can safely say I’ve never heard of him. I don’t even think I’ve seen him in my feed? But I will keep an eye out … because now that I know, I’ll probably see him everywhere.

    • I’m the same. Haven’t heard of him till now. Like you, I’m assuming he will pop up everywhere now.

    • He’s all over the place!

  • Yes to all of the above.

  • Kathy Marris

    I agree with Rebecca. Why would you take advice off a person with the name ‘avocado’? I despise these types of predators. They are full of sh*t! Don’t worry I’m very careful of what I share on social media, but thanks for the heads up. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  • sue

    My son told me not to post or share David’s posts and I didn’t really listen. I suppose I concentrate too much on the inspirational side of things and think it won’t do too much harm but after reading your post, obviously my son knows more than his Mum! Thanks for the heads up.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

    • sydneyshopgirl

      Your son is a wise young man, sue! Could you pass on my thanks for the heads up to him?

      SSG xxx

      • sue

        Yes I will thank you. Sometimes I don’t give him credit for his wisdom. He is the youngest of my children and has never really conformed. However, he is very intelligent and I don’t give him enough credit. Thank you for reminding my and have a beautiful day. xx

    • What a switched-on young man!

  • Dianne Childs

    I’ve actually never heard of him, but I get really annoyed with anti-vaxxers and people who claim herbs etc will cure cancer and that you shouldn’t treat serious diseases with traditional scientific medicine. The whole thing is nonsense. I’m glad none of my small group of FB friends have shared, liked or commented on his crap!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

  • I agree there’s too much health nonsense posted on Facebook, stuff that people actually believe because it’s very convincing. Thanks for the heads-up about what a ‘like’ on FB actually means, and actually puts into action. #teamlovinlife

  • budgetjan

    I’ve not heard of him but will keep an eye out for the name from now on.

  • writeofthemiddle

    I see him and his posts in my FB feed all the time. I agree with all you’ve said!! #TeamLovinLife

  • Man I wish I had his success when I posted stuff on FB …

  • Ok thanks for the heads up Amy. I do see a lot of his stuff on Facebook. While I appreciate everyone is entitled to their opinion, most of the information he peddles appears to be false and misleading…

    • Very much so- you can have your own opinions, as they say- just not your own facts.

  • LostInUnderland

    You stated, right there in your article, that he sells hope. That is worth the price. Nobody believes that crap unless they are determined to delude themselves. If they do not get those “alternative facts” from Wolfe, they can go get them from plenty of other places. There have always been snake oil salesmen. There always will be. Protecting your friends list from being exposed to a charlatan seems patronizing to me. I am sorry that you feel he harmed you.

    • He doesn’t sell hope. He sells lies and false hope. He sells dangerous misinformation. He sells ideas that lead people away from medicines that work towards alternatives that do not. People have died under the influence of charlatans like this. Wanting to protect my friends from such harm is hardly patronizing! Your last sentence is confusing- I didn’t say he’d harmed me personally so no need to apologize.

      • LostInUnderland

        Oh. I assumed that you were so against him because of personal harm. Like I said to Gangle, yes, the hope is false. I just do not believe that this is an effective way to stop him. I do hope it works. However, I think concrete actions against him would be more effective, either instead or congruently with a social media call out campaign.

        • I’m not in a position to sue, that costs loads anyway. So a SM campaign is a good starting point, IMO.

    • Gangle

      Why do people think hope, even when unfounded and false, is such a good thing and ‘worth the price’? I am part of the infertility community and I have seen first hand what the brand of hope snake oil salesmen sell can do. At best it can wrench the ground from underneath the feet of their victims when it doesn’t work as promised and leave them more shattered and broken than before they believed there was hope. At worst it causes permanent physical damage and/or delays the victim from getting proper treatment before it’s too late ( one woman I knew bought herbal ‘fertility tampons’ from an alternative health charlatan. She was hoping they would safely cure her infertility as promised. Every question and doubt about their safety was smoothed away by the company selling them. They were really, really smooth. Now all conventional ART is completely off the table for her as the infections caused by the treatment have destroyed her reproductive system completely. Would she have looked elsewhere for false hope if that company didn’t exist? Probably. But that doesn’t mean people making a profit from selling products and treatments that don’t work shouldn’t be held accountable or be exposed for their dishonesty.

      • LostInUnderland

        I do understand. I have the same problem (with hope for a cure for the incurable, not specifically infertility), which is why I am pretty cynical about this solution. It is not in any way that I think David Wolfe is harmless. It is that I do not think that it is effective to stamp him out. People like your friend WILL seek out hope. People like me WILL believe anything if only it could really be a cure. I do not think that sharing a “breath deeply and know the universe is yours” kinda meme is going to make any difference at all either way. I do not think that it is leading people to buy his snake oil and I definitely do not believe it is influencing those who are not already looking for snake oil. Sure, expose him. Those who want to believe still will. The better option would be to actually sue him if you can find someone who he has harmed.

        • Gangle

          The the problem with suing guys like this is that they already know they are selling dangerous and/or useless crap. They have legal teams. They know how to carefully word their products to mislead yet still scrape in with any legal requirements about safety etc. Because they are not doctors or official practitioners they also don’t fall under the same legal checks and balances doctors do – eg if a qualified dietician sells a recipe book full of humbug and false claims he or she can easily be sued and lose their licence to practice. If I write the same recipe book I can get away with it legally because I am not a dietician, I am a Nutritional Goddess or whatever false qualification I give myself. There is more to it than that, it’s a pretty complex system they operate from that you can research yourself if you are interested. That is why so many get away with it for so long. The point about not sharing his memes is you aren’t spreading his logo and therefore name and website to your friends. If there was a business in town that you believed was ripping people off you wouldn’t hand out their flyers to your friends, would you? Especially not if your friends were gullible and easily suckered in by con artists. That’s what those inspirational memes are. Business flyers. Yes desperate and gullible people will get suckered in by somebody wanting to rip them off. Doesn’t mean you push them in the direction of someone willing to do it.

          • LostInUnderland

            I get it. Thanks for taking the time to clarify for me. I’d also like to explain that saying hope is worth the cost is that people are willing to pay for hope. It is wrong, though.

  • Cindy Chuan

    Thanks for this information. Social media can be a vessel for uncensored crap. So hard for the average person to work through evidence based facts and propaganda.

    • It is hard, I agree- he just muddies the waters further!

  • I’m not anti alternatives. Nor am I anti-science. Nor I am anti-vaccine. Even though my son was nearly killed by one, his sister is still fully immunised. I am anti blanket statements that all alternative or complimentary medicines are bad. And that one size fits all in health care. Because clearly my son being hospitalised for a week unable to breathe unassisted after reacting to a standard childhood immunisation means it doesn’t. But then the children I’ve seen suffering from Whooping Cough and Measles mean that I use my logic and do the math on the rarity of his reaction and immunised my daughter anyway. I am anti not giving people options because some “alternative therapies” that were slammed as BS a few decades ago have been proven otherwise. By science. And some of the very Doctors slamming them then are now using them to treat people as complimentary medicine. I’ve had “alternative” medicines help in treating health issues I’ve had since a child when Western Medicine couldn’t. Not in every case. And it certainly doesn’t mean I ever ignore scientific “medicine”. I am anti people patronising me that its success were a placebo effect and all in my head. Especially as some of these treatments happened when I was too young to know the difference. I still think David Wolfe is a douche bag. But I didn’t need you to tell me that. I used logic. Which I have. Regardless of my support for some “alternative” practices.

    • I think many blur the lines between complementary and alternative. It’s great when research is able to be done to show that certain things work- tea tree oil springs to mind as something I tried on blemishes before it was proven to have anti-microbial properties. It can only be a good thing to have more treatments that are effective.

  • Bree

    It worries me that so many people are comfortable with trusting this man wholeheartedly regarding their childrens health. Majority of us shop around when looking for a bargain why wouldn’t you do the same regarding information about your childrens health?

    • And that people think all info is equal when it so is not!

  • Marissa Parsons

    So, wait……….chocolate doesn’t share the vibrations of the sun?

    Dang!

    • It’s an octave of the sun. How’s that word-salad?

  • My FB newsfeed is full of him – so many people seem to instinctively click the share button on anything with his name branded all over it. People need to start reading before they share such utter crap! x x

    • Most don’t even realise, which is why I wrote this!

  • Lauren Elise Threadgate

    My FB newsfeed is currently filled with a sensationalist, scaremongering article that’s completely unrelated to David Avocado Wanker. Sadly it’s being shared by people who inherently disagree with it, and are voicing their disgust. However they simply don’t realise that by repeatedly sharing it, they are elevating the author’s platform. Thank you for raising awareness about this!

    • So true- sharing is amplifying that opinion, even when we disagree!

  • napalmnacey

    For some reason, him listing HPV vaccine as somehow unreasonable really makes my brain explode, given that it’s protecting girls from cancer! I mean all of it makes me angry but that point – wow.

  • Eeeeep!

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