Conspiracy theories (alleging for example that a vaccine against COVID will be used to implant an electronic chip) are particularly present in the disinformation around vaccines on social networks in the French-speaking world, noted First Draft, an NGO specializing in the fight against false information.
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“When people cannot easily access reliable information on vaccines and when mistrust of people and institutions linked to vaccines is high, disinformation very quickly fills this void” and gradually instills growing distrust against vaccines, First Draft noted in a study Thursday.
First Draft has established a typology of the various false information related to vaccination circulating on social networks (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) in English, French and Spanish.
From some 14 million publications containing the words “vaccine” or “vaccination” published between mid-June and mid-September, the NGO used a sample of 1,200 most viral publications, which themselves generated more than 13 million interactions (“likes”, shares, comments ….).
“Two topics were dominant in the (three) languages”, “the political and economic motivations behind vaccines” and “the safety and necessity of vaccines”, noted First Draft, which is concerned about the possible impact of the misinformation on the acceptance of vaccines in general and the possible future vaccine against Covid in particular.
“Conspiracy theories” on vaccination “are over-represented on social networks”, particularly in French-language publications, where one “finds more publications linking vaccines to conspiracy theories than to moral or religious questions or to concerns about civil liberties ”.
First Draft also notes that these theories are not limited to “marginal groups” but “resonate with the movement of” Yellow Vests “, libertarians, New Age groups” for example with terms like “electronic chip” or “Deep state” becoming “more and more popular”.
The “libertarian” ideology (of American origin) advocates maximum individual freedom against institutions and governments. Also prevalent in the United States, the theory of a “deep state” maintains that there is a sort of invisible power held by the few working in the shadows for their interests at the expense of the people.
All languages combined, First Draft observed “ideologically incongruous” alliances (libertarians, anti-vaccines, New Age groups, the extreme right with QAnon …) who find themselves “united” to “oppose a future vaccine. against the Covid ”.