VACCINE INFORMATION SEEKING AND SHARING: HOW PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUPS CONTRIBUTED TO THE ANTI-VACCINE MOVEMENT ONLINE
Keywords:antivaccine, misinformation, digital communities, social media
Although vaccines are supported by decades of research demonstrating their efficacy and safety, many parents still decide not to vaccinate their children due to the perceived risks. One major factor in vaccine dissent is the proliferation of vaccine opposed content online. Online content has become an integral part of how people make health and science-related decisions. This study explores how members of anti-vaccine Facebook groups use the platform to seek and share vaccine information. Using interviews and Facebook posts shared in vaccine opposed groups, this study was able to identify the information seeking and sharing behaviors on Facebook and how Facebook’s platform changes are affecting the vaccine opposed movement. Findings from this study will provide further insights into the relationships among social media use, values, and trust in the vaccine debate. In addition, results may be applicable to other scientific controversies, online misinformation, and the development of public health interventions.