Researchers from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and Anti-Vax Watch say just 12 people or organizations are responsible for circulating nearly two-thirds of the anti-vaccine content the world sees on social media. Moreover, despite their promises to remove accounts and posts spreading COVID misinformation, the study finds social media CEOs have not taken action against these individuals.
“Disinformation has become a direct threat to public health,” says CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed in a media release. “In the midst of a global pandemic, the Anti-Vaccine Industry has executed a targeted campaign to mislead Americans about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. Social media is enabling 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.”
Study authors analyzed anti-vaccine posts shared on Facebook and Twitter over 812,000 times between Feb. 1 and March 16, 2021. The results uncovered that 65 percent of this material comes from 12 of the most prominent anti-vaccine voices today. This is a group which includes entrepreneurs, physicians, and even a member of the fabled Kennedy political family.