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Social media and anti-vaccine movements, chemtrails, flat earth, etc.


koti
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Im posting from my phone so I appologize for not attaching the pdf here on the site.

I just read this paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.0583.pdf

on social media aspects of anti-vaccine movements. For the purpose of this thread, you can read just the abstract and the summary and conclusions. While reading this paper something struck me...the mechanisms of spreading dissinformation on social media which enable the spreading of anti-vaxx BS a lot faster than spreading of legitimate data based on actual science can be applied not only to anti-vaccine movements but to all other conspiracy theories and dissinformation. I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices a presence of cardinally moronic things on social media and on the internet in general like chemtrails, flat earth, moon mission was a hoax and a dosen more. My concern is...do you think that these moronic stances were always present in our society and internet is just a means for us to notice it or is the internet a catalyst which contributes to the "moronisation" of society? Hunch and logic dictates that its both at the same time but I wonder...were we always "that" dumb or are we actually getting dumber due to the social media mechanisms enabling the easy spread of dissinformation?

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Yes, absolutely. I read a very good article recently that said exactly that - that false information can spread faster than true information because it can be tailored without regard for facts to maximize it's propagation speed as a meme. Fascinating idea, and when you combine it with generalized Darwinism it's frightening because it says that ultimately most people are going to believe incorrect information.

 

I hate people who preach against vaccines. It is SO CLEAR that they do good, and yet these people have chosen that as their "path to prominence," and that's all they care about - getting attention for themselves.

 

Very astute observation, koti!

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were we always "that" dumb or are we actually getting dumber due to the social media mechanisms enabling the easy spread of dissinformation?

 

It's not so much a case of us getting dumber, it's more an effect of the echo chamber; we're hard wired to agree, mostly, with our fellows; so if we post an opinion on a site that we joined because it largely agrees with us, we're not likely going to buck the trend.

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IIRC there has never been a society that thought the Earth was flat, apart from a few idiots on the tinternet, now.

The "Flat Earth Society" group on facebook has 77 thousand followers. There are hundreds of similar youtube channels and FB groups with more that 100K subscribers. The question is wether theres just that ~100K people globaly who are morons or is this spreading. Shaquile O'neal is a flat earther, Jim Carry & Jenny Mc'arthy are openly fighting vaccines for years now. There are dosens of similar subjects like Illuminati, chemtrails, moon hoax with hundreds of thousands supporters. I'm curious if this is a fairly steady number of nutt cases over the years or if the global village is really contributing to the creation of these nutters.

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The "Flat Earth Society" group on facebook has 77 thousand followers. There are hundreds of similar youtube channels and FB groups with more that 100K subscribers. The question is wether theres just that ~100K people globaly who are morons or is this spreading. Shaquile O'neal is a flat earther, Jim Carry & Jenny Mc'arthy are openly fighting vaccines for years now. There are dosens of similar subjects like Illuminati, chemtrails, moon hoax with hundreds of thousands supporters. I'm curious if this is a fairly steady number of nutt cases over the years or if the global village is really contributing to the creation of these nutters.

 

Really... 77K verses 7 billion, that seems to be the very definition of a few nutters on the internet.

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Really... 77K verses 7 billion, that seems to be the very definition of a few nutters on the internet.

I hope youre right but I suspect its not that simple - remember the thread here on the forum about Lake Ballaton earth curvature measurements? This thread was open for 6 months and it managed to lure into the discussion quite a few regulars. This thread is being used now by these psychos as leverage for their flat earth theory elsewhere. This is what Im wondering about, how much does the social media and the internet contribute to the creation of new morons. The lake Ballaton thread case Im mentioning would not be possible without the social media and the internet, it is clearly a mechanism by which false information has a lot more momentum to spread.

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No, link please.

I don't want to link to it. I dont even want to type in the title of it here. Type into the forum search "Lake Balaton" and it will show a thread about laser measurements, its locked by swansont.

Edit: I don't want google to show that I'm citing crackpot discussions.

Edited by koti
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I don't want to link to it. I dont even want to type in the title of it here. Type into the forum search "Lake Balaton" and it will show a thread about laser measurements, its locked by swansont.

Edit: I don't want google to show that I'm citing crackpot discussions.

Why?

Worried they're watching you?

 

:P:P:P:P:P:P:P:P

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The "Flat Earth Society" group on facebook has 77 thousand followers. There are hundreds of similar youtube channels and FB groups with more that 100K subscribers. The question is wether theres just that ~100K people globaly who are morons or is this spreading. Shaquile O'neal is a flat earther, Jim Carry & Jenny Mc'arthy are openly fighting vaccines for years now. There are dosens of similar subjects like Illuminati, chemtrails, moon hoax with hundreds of thousands supporters. I'm curious if this is a fairly steady number of nutt cases over the years or if the global village is really contributing to the creation of these nutters.

To be fair, there are plenty of flying spaghetti monster facebook pages and the largest I could find has 187K followers. While there might be a handful who completely missed the point and actually believe in the flying spaghetti monster, those are definitely exceptions.

 

In case of the flat earthers, it is probably more worrying, but I doubt a majority of those 77 thousand actually believe it. Most probably just joined for giggles.

 

The vaccination hysteria is a more compelling lie, because the results are less visible. That makes it is less of a stretch to believe it, especially for people who are already under the delusion that the government/scientists are evil and like spreading death and misery. Compared to flat earth, it is also in no way funny to join a movement like that, so anyone liking or sharing such information probably means it.

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Universal Zetetic Society dates back to the turn of last century. The International Flat Earth Society was founded in 1956.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_flat_Earth_societies

1956 sounds pretty comforting actually. Maybe the amount of damage that is being done by internet social media is not as significant as Im assuming.

To be fair, there are plenty of flying spaghetti monster facebook pages and the largest I could find has 187K followers. While there might be a handful who completely missed the point and actually believe in the flying spaghetti monster, those are definitely exceptions.

 

In case of the flat earthers, it is probably more worrying, but I doubt a majority of those 77 thousand actually believe it. Most probably just joined for giggles.

 

The vaccination hysteria is a more compelling lie, because the results are less visible. That makes it is less of a stretch to believe it, especially for people who are already under the delusion that the government/scientists are evil and like spreading death and misery. Compared to flat earth, it is also in no way funny to join a movement like that, so anyone liking or sharing such information probably means it.

I think the three examples you show are all a bit different and cannot be put in the same basket. Flat earthers are plain crackpots, FSM people are just having a laugh at religion (I never accepted that as its just not funny to me) and the anti-vaxxers are usually a group of people supporting all sorts of other conspiracy theories like big pharma, chemtrails, NWO and a few others. These conspiracy theorists are thriving on the internet and they are actually managing to succesfuly brainwash people who otherwise Id never suspect of being an irrational person. Example: My brothers wife is a middle class girl in her early 30's, speaks 3 languages, college graduate. She is a firm anti vaxxer, she just knows that theres a big pharma conspiracy and the vaccines are dangerous because it says so on the patient information slips, etc. There is absolutely no way to try to get her to think rationally, I tried. There are dosens of young, middle class families around her who behave similarly including some rich and powerful people - its scary. What John Cuthber wrote above seems like the punchline here. I would add that appart from lies spreading faster compared to legitimate information theres also a problem with finding legitimate data and legitimate information these days because of the huge amount of bs out there. I spent quite a few weeks researching vaccines myself and believe me its difficult to keep cutting through the vast amounts of false information and manipulation on the internet. Its especially difficult having zero formal med eduation like myself and most people out there - its easier to slip. I see people around me who slipped with various subjects, not only vaccines and I see more and more of them. And the catalyst for these slip ups seem to be internet social media mechanisms in every case. Edited by koti
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1956 sounds pretty comforting actually. Maybe the amount of damage that is being done by internet social media is not as significant as Im assuming.

I think the three examples you show are all a bit different and cannot be put in the same basket. Flat earthers are plain crackpots, FSM people are just having a laugh at religion (I never accepted that as its just not funny to me) and the anti-vaxxers are usually a group of people supporting all sorts of other conspiracy theories like big pharma, chemtrails, NWO and a few others. These conspiracy theorists are thriving on the internet and they are actually managing to succesfuly brainwash people who otherwise Id never suspect of being an irrational person. Example: My brothers wife is a middle class girl in her early 30's, speaks 3 languages, college graduate. She is a firm anti vaxxer, she just knows that theres a big pharma conspiracy and the vaccines are dangerous because it says so on the patient information slips, etc. There is absolutely no way to try to get her to think rationally, I tried. There are dosens of young, middle class families around her who behave similarly including some rich and powerful people - its scary. What John Cuthber wrote above seems like the punchline here. I would add that appart from lies spreading faster compared to legitimate information theres also a problem with finding legitimate data and legitimate information these days because of the huge amount of bs out there. I spent quite a few weeks researching vaccines myself and believe me its difficult to keep cutting through the vast amounts of false information and manipulation on the internet. Its especially difficult having zero formal med eduation like myself and most people out there - its easier to slip. I see people around me who slipped with various subjects, not only vaccines and I see more and more of them. And the catalyst for these slip ups seem to be internet social media mechanisms in every case.

True, all very different cases.

 

Are children in your country obliged by law to get certain vaccines such as polio? In Belgium I haven't personally met any anti-vaxxers and it is mostly considered a fringe problem among certain religious groups. According to an article (in Dutch), most people that aren't vaccinated against measles simply forgot.

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True, all very different cases.

 

Are children in your country obliged by law to get certain vaccines such as polio? In Belgium I haven't personally met any anti-vaxxers and it is mostly considered a fringe problem among certain religious groups. According to an article (in Dutch), most people that aren't vaccinated against measles simply forgot.

Im in Poland, vaccinations are compulsory here and not vaccinating is subjected to significant fines. This doesnt stop the anti vaxxers, it actually makes them stronger, they are pursuing a stance that their fredom is being taken away from them and they manage to gain more followers through this - they are growing like weed month by month. Private kindergardens and schools are full of non vaccinated children, people are finding ways to bypass the law and not vaccinate their children. Its also happening in the middle class society - educated, wealthy people. Just last week there was an anti vaxxer march in Warsaw and thousands of people attended - its psychosis. Being from Belgium, Im sure you know the other "wonderful" things happening in Poland and what our current government is doing. Im so sick of it for the past year and a half that I'd move out to brussels tomorrow with my wife and son if I could.

I didnt want this thread to be specifically about vaccines though, I more wanted to pursue the social media mechanisms which lead to these kinds of stances and try to find out how much influence the internet has on people choosing the "conspiracy theory" path.

Edited by koti
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May have to wait until there's a(hopefully mild) outbreak before you see support move back towards vaccinating.

It's already happening, there are "mild" outbreaks of mumps here snd there (Italy, Romania) and there are deaths. That doesnt stop the anti vaxxers, in fact they are doing great - they are convinced that the MMR vaccine caused the Mumps outbreaks.

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Imo, most social media is too brief to be informative. You have just a couple of seconds to grab attention in your quest for virality. So the messages there tend to be emotionally based, and there's the rub. You can't reason with emotional people. It doesn't get much more emotional than concern for your family.

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Im posting from my phone so I appologize for not attaching the pdf here on the site.

I just read this paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.0583.pdf

on social media aspects of anti-vaccine movements. For the purpose of this thread, you can read just the abstract and the summary and conclusions. While reading this paper something struck me...the mechanisms of spreading dissinformation on social media which enable the spreading of anti-vaxx BS a lot faster than spreading of legitimate data based on actual science can be applied not only to anti-vaccine movements but to all other conspiracy theories and dissinformation. I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices a presence of cardinally moronic things on social media and on the internet in general like chemtrails, flat earth, moon mission was a hoax and a dosen more. My concern is...do you think that these moronic stances were always present in our society and internet is just a means for us to notice it or is the internet a catalyst which contributes to the "moronisation" of society? Hunch and logic dictates that its both at the same time but I wonder...were we always "that" dumb or are we actually getting dumber due to the social media mechanisms enabling the easy spread of dissinformation?

 

I think the danger is the echo chamber effect of, specifically, social media which seems much more dangerous and insidious because it provides soldiers and propaganda for the army of the righteously indignant.

An episode in my local community, a while ago, where an ice cream vendor was attacked for attempting to navigate his van around (not through) a group of people paying their respects to the fallen soldiers of WWII.

 

Major issues such as anti-vaxers is played out on a much wider field (not many echos in a field) and while the effect might strengthen some peoples belief, the wider media does at least counter the arguments.

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