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Two-thirds of anti-vaxx social media content linked to just 12 people

About two-thirds of the anti-vaccine content posted on Facebook and Twitter comes from just 12 prominent people, according to a new report.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and the Anti-Vax Watch Alliance analyzed anti-vaxxer content that had been shared or posted more than 812,000 times on social media platforms between February 1 and March 16.

Up to 65% of the content was attributable to 12 people, including famous anti-vaxx activist Robert F Kennedy Jr, son of former US Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

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Joseph Mercola, an alternative medicine entrepreneur with more than 3.6 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram who has been warned by the United States Food and Drug Administration to stop selling supplements that claim to treat Covid- 19, was identified as the most significant spreader of anti-vaxx misinformation in the sample.

Ty and Charlene Bollinger, anti-vaxxer entrepreneurs who promoted the false theory that Bill Gates plans to inject humans with microchips in Covid-19 vaccines, masked skeptic doctor Sherri Tenpenny and conspiracy theorist and influencer Rizza Islam are also on the list.

The dozen of disinformation

  1. Joseph Mercola
  2. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  3. Ty and Charlène Bollinger
  4. Sherri Tenpenny
  5. Rizza Islam
  6. Rachid Buttar
  7. Erin elisabeth
  8. Sayer Ji
  9. Kelly brogan
  10. Christiane Northrup
  11. Ben tapper
  12. Kevin jenkin

Of the top 12 anti-vaxx broadcasters, dubbed the ‘Dozen of Disinformation’, nine are still active on all three platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, while only three have been barred from using any of the three, said. affirmed the CCDH.

Analysis of anti-vaxx content posted to Facebook more than 689,000 times in the past two months found that 73% of the content disseminated can be attributed to the dozen misinformation, while around 17% of the 120,000 anti-tweets -vaxx could be assigned to the same people.

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The CCDH calls on social media platforms to remove well-known, well-known anti-vaccines from their sites in order to dramatically reduce the amount of misinformation produced and disseminated.

“Disinformation has become a direct threat to public health,” said Imran Ahmed, director general of the CCDH.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, the anti-vaccine industry has waged a targeted campaign to mislead the public about the safety of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Social media allows anti-vaccines to recruit millions of people and indoctrinate them with fear and doubt. If big tech companies don’t act now, the pandemic will continue and more lives will be lost. “

A Facebook spokesperson said: Working with leading healthcare organizations, we’ve updated our policies to take action against accounts that violate our Covid-19 and vaccine rules – including reducing their distribution or removing them from our platform – and have already taken action against some of the groups in this report.

“As research shows that the best way to tackle vaccine hesitancy is to connect people to trusted information from health experts, we have also connected over 2 billion people to health resources. health authorities, in particular via our Covid-19 information center. “

A Twitter spokesperson said: “Everyone is subject to the rules outlined in our Covid-19 Disinformation Policy.

“As previously stated, we will not take any action on any tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19. In order for Covid-19-related content to be tagged or removed under this policy, it must: make an allegation of fact, expressed in definitive terms; be manifestly false or misleading, based on widely available and authoritative sources; and be likely to impact public safety or cause serious damage.

“Since the introduction of our Covid-19 guidelines last year, we have deleted over 22,400 Tweets and disputed 11.7 million accounts worldwide.”

Instagram has been contacted for comment.

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