Why are Facebook's vaccine opponents dominant?
An anti-vaccine community denying vaccination for disease treatment is expanding on Facebook. A research team from Neil Johnson, a physicist at George Washington University, reports on the size of Facebook's vaccine opponents and how they increased.
The online competition between pro- and anti-vaccination views | Nature
Vaccine opposition people not only show the idea that it is not as dangerous as it is said to be a new type of coronavirus infection, 'it can reduce the risk of infection in everyday life' , but in addition, ' 5G There is also a community that advocates conspiracy theory such as 'The fashion has spread. '
Johnson analyzed the posts of about 100 million Facebook users and investigated what each user thinks of the vaccine. The survey by Johnson et al. Was conducted from February 2019 to October 2019, and it is the data before November 2019 when the case of new coronavirus was confirmed .
The figure below shows a line representing the community, the size of the number of members in the community, and the connection of the communities created during the survey period. Red is against vaccines, blue is against vaccines, and green is a neutral community. The closer the communities are to each other, the closer the dots are. If you look at the diagram, you can see that the neutral community is biased toward the opposition.
Regarding the above figure, the following figure shows the connection with the opposition community in the foreground. You can see that the community is roughly divided into three groups, and opposition groups are concentrated in the largest community group. It also suggests that opposition communities are concentrated in one place and that each has a close relationship.
The diagram below shows a pro-community front. The largest community gatherings are few in favor and the communities are small. Furthermore, since the supporters are divided into two groups, it is speculated that the exchanges in each community are weaker than those in the opposition.
The table below shows the number of people in each community. The number of users of the anti-vaccination group was about 4.2 million, which was lower than the number of users of the vaccine-pro-vaccination group (6.9 million). However, as for the number of communities, 317 are against vaccines and 124 are against vaccines. The number of neutrals is overwhelmingly 74.1 million, so more users could flow to vaccine opponents if the neutral and opposition communities remain close.
Johnson et al. Cite the opposition's public relations activities as the reason why the neutrals are biased toward opposition. Opponents are worried about the dangers of vaccines and posts including conspiracy theory, and they are attracting neutrals by proposing alternative medicine. Johnson also points out that the large number of communities is also a factor in increasing opposition. The large number of communities means that there are many points of contact, and it also facilitates the dissemination of information.
In addition, Facebook was showing a lot of anti-vaccine ads on a small community. The following articles will help you understand what groups were promoting anti-vaccine ads.
54% of ads that anti-vaccines showed on Facebook were advertisers from only two groups-GIGAZINE
In addition, the survey period from February 2019 to October 2019 was the time when measles was epidemic in the United States, and as a result of the increased activity of vaccine opponents due to the measles epidemic, the number of opponents also increased. They speculate. In fact, the measles epidemic has increased some opposition communities up to three times more users. On the other hand, the pro-community community did not see any significant change in the number of users in the community before and after the measles epidemic.
The figure below is a graph that estimates the future increase in users in each faction based on the increasing trend of Facebook anti-vaccine and February 2019-October 2019 Facebook. In the first half of the 2030s, it is predicted that vaccine opponents will outnumber supporters.
Johnson and others point out that many people lack a understanding of not only viruses but social media itself. He said that he is likely to be fooled by bots that spread the wrong information, as well as by the malicious vaccine opposition community. In addition, Johnson and his colleagues commented, 'Our analysis is incomplete, and we will need to investigate other influential social media and the number of users common to each community in the future.'
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