Little trust in government, conspiratorial beliefs, watching YouTube

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According to a new publication from the universities of Oxford and Southampton, researchers are urging the government and social media companies to take urgent action to find out that people looking for information on social media, particularly YouTube, are less willing. to be vaccinated against COVID-19. the findings.

Oxford professor Melinda Mills and Southampton professor Will Jennings and her research team found that they were unregulated. sources pose a particular problem in contributing to hesitant hesitation. The article warns you it can be taken from an “echo camera” effect, where personalized recommendations, based on an individual’s “viewing history,” underscore an individual’s concerns and rarely provide alternative or expert opinions.

Professor Mills said: “In some misinformation proliferates because users receive content suggestions aligned with their fears and see stories that lead them to deeper rabbit holes. Information is often presented by non-experts, with limited fact-checking, making it difficult to calibrate accuracy or balance information. “

The newspaper warned: “Those who obtain information from relatively unregulated social media sources such as YouTube, who have recommendations tailored to their viewing history, are less likely to get vaccinated.”

Researchers are calling for actions by governments, health officials and social media companies and more information to fill the “knowledge gaps”.

The study also shows that trust is key.

Professor Jennings noted: “Misinformation thrives when there is a lack of trust in government, politics and elites with a broader lesson that authorities need to communicate in a truthful, clear and consistent manner.”

Collecting data from a survey of 1476 adults in the UK and five focus groups during the first vaccine deployment in the country in December 2020, they found that a low perceived personal risk of COVID-19 was related to . The complacency also arose from a misunderstanding that “herd immunity” had been achieved and that only the vulnerable needed to be vaccinated. Skepticism surrounding COVID-19 and vaccines was related to the belief that unequal deaths in certain population groups were a form of population control, that herd immunity had been achieved, and that the virus was caused. by man or not was as deadly as reported.

Professor Mills added: “There was often a knowledge gap in understanding the risks. While there are some who have conspiratorial beliefs, many were simply trying to make sense of fragmented, dynamic and confusing information, often by accessing social media. for clarity “.

The publication says that more than 80% of Europeans and more than 70% of Americans use the Internet as a source of health information and finds growth in Internet use and dependence on sources such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have changed the landscape of information gathering.

The video-sharing platform, YouTube, which contains a high percentage of negative claims, was especially hesitant.

The post read: “YouTube users were significantly less willing to be vaccinated, with a 45% chance of being willing to be vaccinated … A study on the content of the YouTube vaccine found 65.5% of discouraged videos use focused on autism, undisclosed risks, adverse reactions and mercury in vaccines. “

Action is essential, according to the team, which maintained: “Governments should establish an attractive web presence to fill knowledge gaps … Sites remain unregulated and do not function as ‘publishers’ [should be] forced to present balanced , with misinformation or conspiracy theories that quickly become “viral”.


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More information:
Lack of trust, conspiracy beliefs, and use of social media predict the hesitation of the COVID-19 vaccine.Vaccines, 2021, doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9060593

Provided by
Oxford University


Citation: Predictors of anti-fax sentiments: low confidence in government, beliefs in conspiracy, watch YouTube (2021, June 3) retrieved June 3, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-predictors- antivax-sentiments-conspiracy-beliefs .html

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