A Facebook internal study has found that a small group of users is actually sowing major doubts about the COVID-19 vaccines, discouraging people from taking the vital jab.
The findings showed that just 10 out of the 638 population segments contained 50 per cent of all vaccine hesitancy content on the platform. In the population segment with the most vaccine hesitancy, just 111 users contributed half of all vaccine-hesitant content, according to a report in The Washington Post.
The Facebook study has also found a QAnon connection behind the campaign to malign the use of coronavirus vaccines and spreading “vaccine hesitancy”. QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory group in the US.
The research is a large-scale attempt to understand the spread of ideas that contribute to vaccine hesitancy, “or the act of delaying or refusing a vaccination despite its availability, on social media — a primary source of health information for millions of people,” the report said on Sunday.
“While Facebook has banned outright false and misleading statements about coronavirus vaccines since December, a huge realm of expression about vaccines sits in a gray area,” it added. Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever said that the social network has partnered with more than 60 global health experts to allay the COVID-19 vaccine fears.
“Public health experts have made it clear that tackling vaccine hesitancy is a top priority in the Covid response, which is why we’ve launched a global campaign that has already connected 2 billion people to reliable information from health experts and remove false claims about COVID and vaccines,” Lever was quoted as saying.
Facebook has stepped up its fight against the misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, and now removes false claims about these vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts on its platform as well as Instagram.
As part of their effort to reduce the spread of “vaccine hoaxes” on its platform, Facebook and its photo-messaging app Instagram said recently not to allow advertisements that include misinformation about vaccines.