New Study Shows Facebook Amplifies Misinformation on HPV Vaccine
The social media platform may also alter public perception of the coronavirus vaccine.
A new study by University of Missouri shows that Facebook may be responsible for low rates of vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. Conducted by Assistant Professor Monique Luisi, the study reports that nearly 40 percent of Facebook posts about the HPV vaccine amplify a perceived risk, making the vaccine seem more dangerous than it actually is. “We see that posts that amplify fear are more likely to trend than those that don’t,” Luisi added.
The professor’s findings are especially relevant as states across the U.S. roll out COVID-19 vaccines. Despite the importance of the vaccine, and vaccinations in general, social media users have circulated harmful misinformation about the treatment on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. As of 2018, only 21.5 percent of adults aged 18 to 26 received the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine, despite sound proof that it can prevent cervical cancer and genital warts (the vaccine was introduced in 2006 and each year, 4,000 women in the U.S. die of cervical cancer).
Head the University of Missouri website to read more about Luisi’s study.