‘Anti-vaxxers’ gain traction against HPV vaccine on Facebook, study finds // Mizzou News // University of Missouri (Study)

July 8, 2020
Contact: Eric Stann, 573-882-3346, [email protected]

COLUMBIA, Mo. – One of many greatest social media websites — Fb — has allowed “anti-vaxxers” to achieve a stronger voice towards using the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine, in line with a brand new research from a media skilled on the College of Missouri.

Monique Luisi

Monique Luisi, an assistant professor within the Missouri Faculty of Journalism, studied greater than 6,500 public HPV vaccine-related posts on Fb over the primary 10 years for the reason that vaccine was accepted by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration in 2006. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention estimates that roughly 80 million Individuals are contaminated with HPV, and 14 million new circumstances happen yearly. HPV can be related to genital warts and 6 forms of most cancers in women and men, together with cervical and throat most cancers.

Regardless of the vaccine’s reported advantages of stopping a number of cancers and genital warts, Luisi stated 45% of the posts she recognized displayed a damaging tone towards individuals getting the vaccine. As well as, over the course of a decade, Luisi recognized a damaging development occurring on Fb towards how individuals understand the vaccine — together with its security, effectiveness and whether or not its use results in the encouragement of sexual habits.

“The illustration of the HPV vaccine has not solely worsened, however damaging posts towards the HPV vaccine have acquired extra public engagement, and proof exhibits that these damaging posts have generated momentum for different associated damaging posts,” Luisi stated. “It might be one factor if we solely noticed simply the damaging data on the market. However there’s additionally damaging momentum carried by these posts, and if damaging posts are encouraging extra individuals to put up different damaging content material, then we will predict how the dialog goes to go and that individuals are additionally being influenced by the messages they see.”

Luisi stated her subsequent step for this analysis can be to review the implications this content material has on dad and mom and guardians as decision-makers. She stated it’s necessary for individuals to acknowledge the facility of sharing content material on social media.

“Folks discuss lots of issues on social media,” she stated. “Whereas somebody may not be immediately concerned in a dialog on a specific matter, they nonetheless would possibly see that dialog whereas scrolling by way of their social media. Subsequently, I believe it’s necessary to consider intent when sharing content material. Even the straightforward act of sharing — intentional or unintentional — can affect others.”

The research, “From unhealthy to worse: The illustration of the HPV vaccine Fb,” was printed in Vaccine, a journal that publishes content material associated to the sphere of vaccinology from varied disciplines.

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