The Echo Chamber of Anti-Vaccination Conspiracies: Mechanisms of Radicalization on Facebook and Reddit

Institute for Policy, Advocacy and Governance (IPAG) Knowledge Series, Forthcoming

11 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Nathalie Van Raemdonck

Nathalie Van Raemdonck

European Union (EU) Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)

Date Written: December 22, 2019

Abstract

To understand online radicalization, it is important to understand the mechanism of echo chambers on certain social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit. Radicalizing communities that have not reached a violent extremism phase can provide a unique insight. This is the case for communities built around conspiracy theories, which thrive in the echo chambers of social media. A case in point is the anti-vaccination conspiracy: most arguments against vaccination are built on conspiracies with little scientific evidence, where the online community predominantly echoes misinformation. This paper explores how Facebook’s mechanism for community building has enhanced the spread of vaccination misinformation online, and compares it to Reddit’s conspiracy community, applying the RECRO model of online radicalization.

Keywords: Online Radicalization, Disinformation, Echo Chambers, Anti-Vaccination, Conspiracy, Facebook, Reddit

Suggested Citation

Van Raemdonck, Nathalie, The Echo Chamber of Anti-Vaccination Conspiracies: Mechanisms of Radicalization on Facebook and Reddit (December 22, 2019). Institute for Policy, Advocacy and Governance (IPAG) Knowledge Series, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3510196

Nathalie Van Raemdonck (Contact Author)

European Union (EU) Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) ( email )

100, avenue de Suffren
Paris, F-75015
France

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