Is Facebook 'killing us'? A new study investigates

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Following the Surgeon General's July 15 advisory connected wellness misinformation and societal media, President Joe Biden remarked that Facebook and different societal media platforms are "killing people." Though Biden rapidly backpedaled connected his remark, Facebook rebutted it, citing alternatively its ain survey that showed expanding "vaccine acceptance" by U.S. Facebook users.

So, does Facebook play a relation successful COVID-19 misinformation? New survey results from researchers astatine Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern and Rutgers universities amusement that it does.

While the researchers authorities that their results bash not bespeak that societal media platforms are "killing people," arsenic Biden said, they bash find, however, that those who relied connected Facebook for COVID-19 quality had substantially little vaccination rates than the wide U.S. population. Those who received astir of their quality from Facebook besides displayed little levels of organization spot and greater acceptance of .

"We surely cannot accidental the level causes vaccine hesitancy, but it does look similar a spot wherever specified radical gather," said James Druckman, the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science successful Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and subordinate manager of the University's Institute for Policy Research."That makes it each the much important to guarantee the proviso of close accusation connected Facebook."

Between June 9 and July 7, Druckman and his colleagues from the COVID States Project asked 20,669 radical crossed the U.S. to sanction quality sources they trust connected for COVID-19 updates, vaccination rates and information.

The researchers recovered Facebook is simply a important root of COVID-19 news. Three successful 10 radical (33%) reported visiting Facebook successful the past 24 hours to find quality astir COVID-19. When compared with different imaginable responses, the results amusement radical usage Facebook astir arsenic overmuch arsenic mainstream quality sources similar CNN (32%) and Fox News (30%).

Vaccination rates

The vaccination complaint of respondents who said they find COVID-19 quality from Facebook and different sources is 10% little (61%) than those who said they bash not usage Facebook (71%). This vaccination spread widens to 40% betwixt radical who utilized aggregate sources (87%) but not Facebook, and those who lone utilized Facebook for COVID-19 quality (47%).

Even erstwhile the researchers accounted for respondents' race, age, location location, acquisition and different demographic characteristics, they inactive observed those who received COVID-19 quality from Facebook had little vaccination levels and showed higher levels of vaccine resistance.

Trust successful institutions, vaccine misperceptions

In examining organization trust, the researchers discovered that respondents who relied connected Facebook for COVID-19 accusation tended to beryllium little trusting of the quality media, arsenic good arsenic different authorities and technological institutions. For respondents who said they lone received quality from Facebook, lone 37% said they trusted the mainstream media "some" oregon "a lot," compared to 47% of different respondents.

Druckman and his colleagues besides asked respondents whether communal COVID-19 misperceptions—such arsenic if vaccines change people's DNA oregon incorporate microchips to way people—were factual. Respondents who exclusively utilized Facebook were much apt to judge the mendacious claims, with 22% believing astatine slightest one. This effect was connected par with radical who lone watched Fox News (21%), and overmuch higher than those who relied connected aggregate caller sources (7%).

Druckman and his colleagues accidental their survey results bash not suggest that Facebook prevented Americans from being vaccinated; still, they bash supply cardinal insights into societal media depletion and COVID-19 vaccination rates.

More information: The pre-print survey is disposable astatine

Citation: Is Facebook 'killing us'? A caller survey investigates (2021, July 29) retrieved 30 July 2021 from

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