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New Facebook research shows a small group of people driving negative vaccine discussions

That group shouldn’t surprise you. It’s people aligned with QAnon beliefs.

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Image: KnowTechie

Facebook is a constant clash of differing ideas, and while that helps drive engagement and opens people up to new ways of thinking, when it comes to medical research, those differing ideas – especially those that go against real medical advice – can be a bad thing.

Right now, with the world focused on COVID-19 and the distribution of a vaccine, misinformation and bad takes surrounding vaccination are in the spotlight again, and, according to a new report from The Washington Post, is being driven by a small group of people on the platform.

That group shouldn’t surprise you – it’s QAnon. While direct QAnon content is no longer allowed on Facebook, people who still fall in line with many of its beliefs are behind much of the content speaking out against vaccination and using people’s reported intense symptoms to sow more distrust in the vaccine.

While reporting your symptoms is not against Facebook’s updated vaccine rules, it can be turned into a negative and it seems like that is one way people are twisting information.

Since vaccination talks have ramped up, the social giant has been adding and modifying rules regarding misinformation, COVID-19, and vaccine discussions. Its new Oversight Committee has even gotten involved, encouraging to loosen its grip on COVID-19 policies to allow for more discussion. Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook actually disregarded that recommendation.

In a statement to The Verge, a Facebook spokesperson tells them, “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. This ongoing work will help to inform our efforts.”

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