As progress on vaccine rollout in the United States slowed down in Spring 2021, it became clear that anti-vaccine information posed a public health threat. Using text data from 5,613 distinct COVID misinformation stories and 70 anti-vaccination Facebook groups, we tracked highly salient keywords regarding anti-vaccine discourse across Twitter, thousands of news websites, and the Google and Bing search engines from May through June 2021, a key period when progress on vaccinations very clearly stalled. Granger causality tests showed that searches for anti-vaccination terms on Google as well as the appearance of these terms on Twitter followed spikes in their appearance in less reliable media sites, but not discussion in the mainstream press.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)