Facebook Study Finds Overlap Between Vaccine Hesitation and QAnon – tech2.org

Facebook Study Finds Overlap Between Vaccine Hesitation and QAnon


Reportedly, early findings from an internal Facebook study on doubts about the coronavirus vaccine include an overlap between users expressing skepticism about the vaccines and accounts affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Facebook’s internal investigation is looking for posts that do not fall under its vaccine misinformation ban, but fall into a grayer area, The Washington Post reported Sunday, citing documents about the study.

As part of the investigation, Facebook data scientists divided US users, groups and pages into 638 population segments to observe that they have vacillating beliefs about vaccines, the Post reported.

Early evidence from internal findings points to an overlap between communities that are skeptical of vaccines and those affiliated with the unfounded QAnon conspiracy theory, according to the Post.

Facebook had pledged to ban all accounts affiliated with the conspiracy theory in October.

Users, however, continually form new QAnon groups, accounts and pages using confrontational tactics that attempt to hide their affiliation with the conspiracy theory, according to Facebook. As Facebook identifies the pages, they are removed, the company says.

Reportedly, early findings from the internal study also suggest that most of the vaccinating content in the vaccine comes from a relatively small subset of users.

The internal study found that only 10 of the 638 population segments contained half of all vaccine concerns on the platform, and in the population segment with the most vaccine concerns, only 111 users contributed half. of that hesitation, according to the Post.

The document seen by the Post did not identify how Facebook defined a segment or a clustered community, but noted that the segments could be at least 3 million people.

Facebook says it’s standard for it to study the types of content on its platforms to understand trends and identify emerging issues to determine action against potentially harmful content.

The reported study is just one of the ways Facebook has been taking steps to combat misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine amid increasing scrutiny from officials about handling such false claims.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have partnered with more than 60 global health experts and studied COVID-19 related content, including vaccines and misinformation, to inform our policies,” Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever said in a release.

Facebook “routinely” studies issues like COVID-19, voting, bias and hate speech to “understand emerging trends to understand emerging trends so that we can build, refine and measure our products,” Lever said.

“Public health experts have made it clear that addressing vaccine concerns is a top priority in the COVID response, which is why we have launched a global campaign that has already connected 2 billion people with trusted information from experts. in health and removes false claims about COVID and vaccines. This ongoing work will help inform our efforts, ”Lever added.

In February, Facebook said it would remove all discredited claims about the coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic, and on Monday, the company said it had removed 2 million content from Facebook and Instagram.

In a blog post on Monday, Facebook also said it will expand its efforts to combat misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine by adding tags to all posts that discuss vaccines.

Facebook said it will initially add World Health Organization information labels to posts that discuss vaccine safety, and in the coming weeks will release labels for more general posts about vaccines that will direct users to information about them.

Facebook’s push to update its policy comes after President BidenJoe Biden The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden to Hit the Road and Promote COVID-19 Relief Act Oregon Senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate this week: Democrats look to next step after coronavirus relief bill win MORELast week’s address indicates that all American adults will be eligible for the vaccine no later than May 1.

Meanwhile, polls have indicated that there will be challenges about vaccine vacillation, especially among certain populations.

A PBS NewsHour / NPR / Marist poll released last week found that nearly 30 percent of Americans overall said they don’t plan to get vaccinated. Among men who identify as Republicans, the same poll found that nearly half said they have no plans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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