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Report links most vaccine misinformation online to just 12 people

Stopping anti-vaccine misinformation will not be as sophisticated as social media corporations make it appear. That’s as a result of 12 of the most distinguished anti-vaccine activists are chargeable for a disproportionate quantity of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media, a new report says.

The report, a joint effort from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and Anti-Vax Watch, discovered that as a lot as 73 p.c of vaccine misinformation on Facebook and 17 p.c of vaccine misinformation on Twitter could be linked to the identical 12 people. Yet the accounts, which the report refers to because the “disinformation dozen,” have largely prevented bans whilst Facebook and Twitter have stepped up their efforts to curb misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines in current months.

For instance, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has lengthy been one of many most distinguished anti-vaxxers on social media, was in February, however his Facebook and Twitter accounts stay online. Others named within the report stay energetic on all three platforms. The report says that de-platforming these people, and the group they characterize, would “significantly reduce” the quantity of vaccine disinformation on social media. 

A Facebook spokesperson disputed the report’s methodology. “Working with leading health organizations, we’ve updated our policies to take action against accounts that break our COVID-19 and vaccine rules — including by reducing their distribution or removing them from our platform — and have already taken action against some of the groups in this report,” Facebook spokesperson Kevin McAlister stated in an announcement. “Since research shows that the best way to combat vaccine hesitancy is to connect people to reliable information from health experts, we’ve also connected over 2 billion people to resources from health authorities, including through our COVID-19 Information Center.”

In an announcement, a Twitter spokesperson stated that its COVID-19 misinformation applies to all customers. “We will not take action on every instance of misinformation,” the spokesperson stated, including that Twitter removes tweets possible to trigger “serious harm.” “Since introducing our COVID-19 guidance last year, we have removed more than 22,400 Tweets and challenged 11.7 million accounts worldwide.”

The report comes amid rising strain for social media platforms to fo extra to curb . On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai are scheduled to seem at a on disinformation. The CEOs are possible to area questions on their dealing with of misinformation in regards to the COVID-19 vaccines in the course of the pandemic.