Only 12 anti-vaxxers are responsible for distributing most anti-vaccine content on social networks: study – fr

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Only 12 anti-vaxxers are responsible for distributing most anti-vaccine content on social networks: study – fr


The “Dozen of Misinformation” includes members as such Robert F. Kennedy, Erin Elizabeth, Joseph Mercola and Ty and Charlene Bollinger

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A mere dozen prominent anti-vaxxers are responsible for most of the anti-vaccine content circulating on social media, a new study has found.

Disinformation Dozen, as the study dubbed it, is responsible for 73% of all anti-vaccine content shared on Facebook and 17% of tweets on Twitter.

Conducted by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Vax Watch, which monitors the anti-vaccine industry, the study analyzed 812,000 posts retrieved from Facebook and Twitter between February 1 and March 16.

Researchers found that 65% of all posts could be traced to 12 accounts representing great anti-vaccine personalities: Joseph Mercola, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ty and Charlene Bollinger, Sherri Tenpenny, Rizza Islam, Rashid Buttar, Erin Elizabeth, Sayer Ji, Kelly Brogan, Christiane Northrup, Ben Tapper and Kevin Jenkins.

“Living in public view on the Internet, there is a small group of individuals who lack relevant medical expertise and who have their own pockets,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, “Who are abusing social media platforms to misrepresent the threat of COVID and spread misinformation about vaccine safety.

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Vaccine activists on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter together reach more than 59 million subscribers, the report says, making these platforms crucial for community members who distribute anti-vaccine content.

Joseph Mercola, an American advocate for alternative medicine, alone has 3.6 million users across all of his social media accounts.

While many people on social media who share anti-vaccine accounts don’t necessarily follow one of those accounts, analysis suggests the majority of anti-vaccine posts are from members of the disinformation dozen.

“The main protagonists of the ‘anti-vaxx industry’ are a cohesive group of professional propagandists,” Ahmed wrote in an article published in Nature medicine March 15.

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“These are the people who run multi-million dollar organizations, incorporated primarily in the United States, with up to 60 employees each. They produce training manuals for activists, tailor their messages to different audiences, and hold meetings like annual trades conferences just like any other industry.

Kennedy, for example, shared several links on his Facebook account, promoting misinformation that the COVID-19 vaccine is linked to a higher incidence of death.

He also broke social media rules after sharing information claiming the vaccine was dangerous for pregnant women.

Some members have seen some of their social media accounts suspended. Erin Elizabeth, who runs the alternative health news site Health Nut and is Mercola’s partner, was banned from Facebook last month. Her husband remains active on all fronts.

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Facebook has also banned accounts owned by Kelly Brogan, Rizza Islam, and Sherri Tenpenny.

Instagram and Twitter suspended a handful of members, but several were allowed to continue sharing and posting content from all of their pages.

“Despite repeated violations of the terms of service of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, nine of the Dozens of disinformation remain on all three platforms, while only three have been completely removed from a single platform,” the report points out. .

Social media platforms, he adds, have failed to censor the spread of vaccine misinformation. Previous research conducted by the center in 2020 found that the platforms “do not act on 95% of the information about Covid and the vaccines communicated to them”.

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Instagram’s algorithm, according to the report, is also actively recommending similar disinformation.

“Social networks allow anti-vaxxers to recruit millions of Americans and indoctrinate them with fear and doubt. If big tech companies don’t act now, the pandemic will be prolonged and more lives will be lost, ”Ahmed warned in a press release in March.

The report calls for Big Tech executives to pursue stronger actions against anti-vaxxers, such as enforcing a two-strike rule against news-sharing accounts, banning “mostly repeat offenders.” highly visible ”and anti-vaccine groups and presenting warning screens to users. try to follow a link to a page with anti-vaccine information.

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