COVID-19 is the first major pandemic in the age of social media, offering experts a rare opportunity to study on a large scale the relationship between online disinformation and human behavior, Axios reported.
As misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines spreads rampant, researchers are trying to measure how many memes and misleading messages can influence a person's decision to vaccinate.
The number of daily COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States has declined over the past month, and Americans are less enthusiastic about vaccinations.
Tech platforms are struggling to deal with misinformation about vaccines, but experts say they are late and misinformation persists. Earlier this year, Facebook said it would remove groups and pages that could dissuade people from getting vaccinated.
Researchers at Indiana found that states with a higher percentage of Twitter feeds included low-trust sources tend to have a higher percentage of people hesitant to get the vaccine.
According to a study published in February, exposure to misinformation about vaccines triggered a decrease in intent to get vaccinated among US and UK residents.
An individual's political affiliation, an assessment of their own risk of disease, access to vaccines, technology and transport, and socioeconomic status are also factors, many of which are interrelated.
Some people who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine are firmly entrenched in the well-funded and organized anti-vaccine movement.