The rise of disinformation

In an era where social media is rife with misinformation, the chances of controlling such content become increasingly difficult. As a result of this anti-vaxx groups are on the rise; something which is now a direct result of social media. The flurry of devout followers attached to anti-vaxx accounts is worrying, especially since the information being pushed by these accounts is scientifically unproven.

Groups like The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) are trying to combat the spread of misinformation of this kind. The Centre conducted a special investigation into the rise of anti-vaxx information. A report entitled The Anti-Vaxx Playbook describes how they infiltrated one of the largest anti-vaxx conferences in the modern day. The affair lasted for three days and hosted anti-vaxxers with huge followings. Their most recent report looked at the ‘Malgorithim‘ – a report on how Instagram’s algorithm publishes misinformation and hate to millions during the pandemic.

The CCDH has a clear aim – to inoculate against misinformation and push their true core message detailed in the report in three steps.

Callum Hood, Head of Research at the CCDH spoke to The Covid Vaccination Project about how anti-vaxxers feed people false information. Click the video below to find out more.

The CCDH’s Anti-Vaxx Playbook report found: “The global scientific consensus on vaccines is being undermined by a small but determined and sophisticated network of individuals and groups spreading misinformation online.

“They have improved their reach and sustainability through skilful exploitation of social media to proselytize and normalize their fringe beliefs.”

Callum explained that anti-vaxxers are using their growing influence to manipulate their audiences into believing false medical information, thus putting their health in great danger. He said that the group were usually against lockdowns, track and tace and wearing masks

Callum also offers some helpful guidance for those who may be believing anti-vaxx content they see online. “It’s not about shaming them, it’s more about teaching them in a safe space,” says Callum.

Callum added that anti-vaxxers themselves believe the content that they are pushing. The narrative they spin, according to him, is rebellious in an effort to “pose themselves as the medical mainstream”. The damage of this content is abusive he adds.

Watch the video below to find out more about the history of vaccines, how they have helped the world and how the Covid vaccine is a trailblazing development. The source of the information in this video is the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.