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Biden says vaccine misinformation on Facebook is killing people – a new study tries to prove it

People who rely on Facebook as a news source are less likely to want the COVID vaccine.

facebook logo on smartphone screen
Image: Unsplash

There has been an ongoing feud lately between the White House and social media platforms, mainly Facebook, over the spread of misinformation regarding COVID on the platform.

Just a couple of weeks ago, President Biden took an aggressive stance, claiming that misinformation on these platforms is “killing people.” New research from The COVID States Project on how people consume COVID-related news somewhat confirms the White House’s concerns.

Researchers conducted a poll of more than 20,000 people from all 50 United States to determine a correlation between Facebook and COVID vaccination rates. The first aspect of the poll determined how many people utilize Facebook as a primary means of COVID news.

Of the 20,699 people surveyed, 31% said they rely on Facebook for COVID-related news. That’s comparable to 32% of users who rely on CNN and 30% who rely on Fox News. The survey then questioned those same users about how they feel about COVID vaccinations, and the results weren’t so great for Facebook users.

covid-19 vaccination rates among news watchers
Image: The COVID States Project

Out of everyone interviewed for this particular study, 68% of Americans were already vaccinated, compared to 14% who may get vaccinated in the future and 18% who said they would not get vaccinated at all. For those users who rely on Facebook as one of their primary news sources, the numbers were a bit different.

When looking at these particular users, only 61% have been vaccinated, and 20% state they will not get vaccinated at all. Taking the data one step further, users who rely solely on Facebook for news (meaning they don’t look at any other news source listed) were much less likely to be vaccinated, with 25% saying they will never get a COVID vaccine.

When looking at these numbers, it’s hard to argue that misinformation on social platforms like Facebook isn’t playing a part in people not wanting to get vaccinated. It seems like the White House is right in saying that these platforms need to do more to combat the spread of misinformation.

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