Let us continue to look at the problem of vaccine misinformation


The most obvious public figures who are skeptical of vaccines, such as Tucker Carlson or Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), understand this.they do not need Spread obvious lies. They can pay attention to the abnormal situation of serious side effects night after night.Or they can Selectively present The results of scientific research or government communication seem to hint at the ominous omen of the virus or vaccine.Or they can avoid scientific questions altogether and support roar Regarding how the government’s vaccine promotion really has to do with social control. Like any magician, they know that the most powerful tool available is not misinformation, but misleading.

Members of the media and political institutions often overlook this subtle distinction. Sometimes, “misinformation” becomes a collective term for any material used to discourage people from shooting, regardless of whether it is objectively wrong.recent New York Times article For example, regarding the influential anti-vaccine expert Joseph Mercola, entitled “The most influential online spreader of coronavirus misinformation”, finally pointed out that Mercola published an article on Facebook Post, suggesting that Pfizer vaccine is 39% effective against Delta variant infections. Mercola accurately conveys the results of a real study cover Through mainstream news media.This era However, this article adjusted him because he did not mention the other findings of the study, namely that the vaccine is 91% effective against serious diseases.

There is no doubt that Mercola—a person who owns Made a fortune Selling “natural” health products that are usually advertised as vaccine substitutes-could have served his followers by sharing this data point. It is dangerous to pick real statistics to spread suspicion about vaccines. But putting this example under the umbrella of misinformation is conceptual creep. Misunderstandings are different from misinformation, and this is not just a semantic difference. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are under tremendous pressure and need to take more measures to prevent dangerous lies from spreading on their platforms. They often get clues from established media organizations. If, in the name of preventing real-world harm, platforms are often suppressed as “misinformation” posts that do not contain any objective false content, then online freedom of speech will be a disturbing development. It’s hard enough to distinguish between true and false in terms of scale.It is reckless to require the platform to assume the responsibility of judging users explain The facts—their views on public policy issues—are acceptable.

Gordon Pennycock, a behavioral psychologist at the University of Regina, said: “There is no doubt that misinformation can make things worse.” “Some people believe in false things, and they read them on the Internet. That must be happening.” But Pennycook continued, “The more you pay attention to this, the less you talk about the ways people start to hesitate, and these ways have nothing to do with misinformation.”

In his research, Pennycook conducted experiments to figure out how people actually respond to online misinformation.In a learn, He and his co-authors tested whether people would be persuaded by statements in fake news headlines after being exposed online. (Example headline: “Mike Pence: Gay conversion therapy saved my marriage.”) In one phase of the experiment, the exposure of fake news headlines increased the number of people who believed the statement was accurate from 38 to 72. You can look at it and say that online misinformation increased beliefs by 89%. Or, you can notice that there are 903 participants in total, which means that the headlines only affect 4% of them.

The current debate about vaccine misinformation sometimes seems to imply that we live in 89% of the world, but the 4% number may be a more useful guide. If only a small percentage of Facebook or YouTube users are susceptible to vaccine misinformation, this is still a serious problem. They are more likely to refuse vaccinations, get sick, and spread the virus—and perhaps their false beliefs—to others.At the same time, it’s important to remember that somewhere around one third Of American adults still choose not to get vaccinated. Even if Facebook and YouTube can remove all anti-vaxx content from their platforms overnight, this will only solve a bigger problem.


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