Covid vaccines and online personal messaging: the challenge of challenging everyday misinformation
reportposted on 2022-04-13, 10:40 authored by Andrew ChadwickAndrew Chadwick, Cristian VaccariCristian Vaccari, Natalie-Anne HallNatalie-Anne Hall
Online personal messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have grown rapidly in recent years and are now hugely popular. In the UK, WhatsApp has 31.4 million users aged 18 and over—about 60% of the entire adult population—and is more widely and frequently used than any of the public social media platforms. Our aim in this report was to uncover the social norms that shape whether and how people do or do not challenge misinformation about Covid vaccines on online personal messaging. It is driven by two key questions: 1) Can society develop better understanding of the social norms shaping how people encounter and appraise vaccine misinformation when they use personal messaging? 2) Can such understanding be used to inform design principles for new forms of public health communication that take the unique context of personal messaging into account? We used a detailed qualitative and interpretive method based on in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=102) with the public in three regions: London, the East Midlands, and the North East of England. We recruited participants using Opinium Research’s national panel of over 40,000 people. Those taking part roughly reflect the diversity of the UK population on age, gender, ethnicity, educational attainment, and a basic indicator of digital literacy.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Communication and Media
- Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP)