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
Date Written: December 22, 2019
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
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