'Disinformation Dozen' Pushes Most Antivaccine Content

73% of false conspiracy theories on Facebook come from accounts of 12 people
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2021 3:22 PM CDT
'Disinformation Dozen' Pushes Most Antivaccine Content
Closeup of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Beaumont Service Center, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Southfield, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Twelve people are responsible for 73% of COVID misinformation on Facebook. A group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate says it looked at content posted on Facebook and antivaccine Facebook groups in February and March, and then monitored how the content was shared. The group says antivaccine influencers make money from their misinformation campaigns, too. Facebook says it has taken down more antivaccine content since the CCDH story was released, NPR reports. John Gregory of NewsGuard, a group that rates news website credibility, says his company has tracked the same dozen misinformation peddlers.

“It’s almost like conspiracy theory Mad Libs. They just inserted new claims,” he said. State and federal elected officials have asked social media giants to ban these accounts. Facebook and Twitter have begun labeling posts. Facebook has removed some and restricted others. One serial offender, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who appears to believe vaccines cause autism and the 5G cellular network is somehow related to the COVID pandemic, was removed from Instagram, per the Guardian. The antivaccine influencers include Ty and Charlene Bollinger, Rizza Islam, Christiane Northrup, and Ben Tapper, Mashable reports. (More conspiracy theory stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.