‘It’s like you injected adrenaline into them’: Facebook’s vaccine misinformation problem faces a new test with Covid-19

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July 28, 2020

As scientists begin to clear a path to a potential coronavirus vaccine, researchers and advocates are increasingly sounding the alarm over what they see as a looming threat: Facebook’s apparent inability to police dangerous falsehoods about vaccines.

Since the outset of the pandemic, vaccine-related falsehoods have ballooned on the platform — and recent research suggests some of those inaccurate posts are gaining traction among people who weren’t previously opposed to vaccinations. Part of the problem appears to be the way Facebook’s algorithms capitalize on divisive or extremist content...“It’s basically like if you injected adrenaline into them,” said Neil Johnson, professor of physics and researcher at the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics at George Washington University.

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