Russia spreads vaccination misinformation to create discord -

Russia spreads vaccination misinformation to create discord

Social media bots and Russian “trolls” spread misinformation about vaccines on Twitter in order to create social discord and spread malware, American researchers say.

Russia spreads vaccination misinformation to create discord

A study has shown that many have published both pro- and anti-vaccine messages in order to create "false information."
Thousands of tweets sent between 2014 and 2017 were reviewed.
Vaccination was used by “trolls” and complex bots as a “wedge problem,” said Mark Dredze of Johns Hopkins University.
“By playing with both sides, they undermine public confidence in vaccination, putting us all at risk of infectious diseases,” he said.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the number of measles cases in Europe reached a record level, and experts blamed this surge of infections in reducing the number of people vaccinated.
The number of children exempted from immunization for religious or philosophical reasons is also increasing in the United States, a study published in June showed. While most Americans considered vaccines safe and effective, Twitter viewing made a different impression and suggested that there was a lot of debate on this issue, according to a disinformation study that was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers reviewed more than 250 vaccination tweets from accounts linked to the St. Petersburg Internet Research Agency (Ira). In February, the agency was mentioned in a US indictment about alleged interference in an election.
Ira's tweets used the polarization language and linked vaccination with controversial claims of racial, class, and government legitimacy, the researchers said.
One tweet questioning the vaccine that was cited in the study said: "Did you know that there is a secret government database about the # Vaccine-damaged child? # VaccinateUS".
Another advocated for vaccinations and said: "#VaccinateUS You cannot correct nonsense. Let them die from Corey, and I for # vaccination!"
Meanwhile, less sophisticated "Content Pollutants" - bot accounts that spread malware, unwanted commercial content and destructive materials - common anti-vaccination messages are much more common than average Twitter users, using them as "bait" to get people Click on links to malicious websites.
Social media companies are trying to find ways to deal with misinformation on their platforms.
Earlier this week, Facebook and Twitter said they suspended or deleted accounts associated with Iran and Russia because of "unreliable" or "manipulating" behavior.
In July, Twitter reportedly closed up to 70 million fake and suspicious accounts.
Despite the fact that science is overwhelmingly and undoubtedly in favor of immunization, an increasing number of parents around the world are resisting medical advice, following their own path.
Some base their decision on discredited 20-year-old studies that mistakenly linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) with autism.
But health officials say the number of people who get measles is increasing due to a drop in vaccination.
In Europe, more than 41,000 people in the first six months of 2018 were infected with measles — almost twice as many as last year — which resulted in 37 deaths.
High rates of measles were observed in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and Greece.
The number of vaccinated children in the US is also increasing.
In Italy, the upper house of parliament voted to abolish the law, which provides for compulsory vaccination of children before they go to school. The amendment will mean that parents of unvaccinated children will no longer be fined.

24.08.2018 11:21:07
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