Washington D.C., United States—Evidence suggests that the Russian propaganda machine was involved in the vaccine debate.
A new study titled “Weaponised Health Communication: Twitter Bots and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate” conducted by university researchers has concluded that social media bots were used to spread misinformation and sow discord about vaccination and its potential dangers on social media.
Researchers from prestigious U.S. institutions found that Russian trolls’ tactics were quite similar to those they had used during the 2016 presidential election.
“These trolls seem to be using vaccination as a wedge issue, promoting discord in American society. . .they erode public trust in vaccination, exposing us all to the risk of infectious diseases,” said Mark Dredze, a Computer Science professor at Johns Hopkins University and an expert in social media data analysis.