Vaccine proponents and opponents are vectors of misinformation online

September 09, 2020

In a new paper published in the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, researchers from the George Washington University, University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University assessed content from the most active vaccine-related accounts on Twitter and found that even accounts with pro-vaccination views and higher public health credibility can be vectors of misinformation in the highly uncertain and rapidly changing environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers sought to better understand how existing online communities contributed to an "infodemic" during the early stages of the pandemic. In February 2020, the World Health Organization warned that the growing infodemic - a deluge of both accurate and inaccurate health information - would be a major challenge in sharing effective health communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 2,000 Twitter accounts assessed, the researchers found:
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The paper, "Not just conspiracy theories: Vaccine opponents and proponents add to the COVID-19 'infodemic' on Twitter," was published on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. To schedule an interview with the researchers, please contact Timothy Pierce at tpie@gwu.edu.

George Washington University

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