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Two-thirds of anti-vax social media content created by just a dozen creators

Saturday, January 22, 2022 11:57 a.m.

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Just 12 “influencers” are behind two-thirds of online anti-vaccination material, it has been found.

Most anti-vax content is produced by prominent Americans, who claim to be political or medical leaders, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

Social media companies have been urged to crack down on anti-vax content by political parties and social media pundits in recent weeks.

Speaking to Sky News, CCHR chief executive Imran Ahmed said the most effective content creators first engage users with other health-related messages.

Wellness or fertility messages have gradually been linked to vaccinations, Ahmed said.

Social media platform algothirims mean that users receive content related to posts they have already engaged with or viewed. This leads to the normalization of anti-vax views for users, Ahmed said.

“All platforms care about what content people will spend time on so they can serve them ads at the same time…they are hesitant to take credible action,” he told Sky News.

The government is preparing to introduce a new online safety bill, which will impose new legal obligations on social media companies to tackle misinformation.

This could force social media platforms to remove harmful content or face fines.

Popular anti-vaxxers on Instagram, Facebook and Telegram have amassed nearly 1.5 million followers, according to analysis compiled by Labour.

Up to 90% of coronavirus patients in intensive care in England have not received their third booster shot, the Prime Minister said earlier this month.

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