The Inoculation — Vaccine Misinformation and Society
Twitter’s Turmoil Was Predicted By Disinformation Researchers

Twitter’s Turmoil Was Predicted By Disinformation Researchers

December 2, 2022

With Twitter in turmoil, we are inviting you to revisit our conversation with WF Thomas, a disinformation researcher. Eva talked to him while working on a story on audio disinformation, which was part of her Transatlantic Media Fellowship by the Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington, DC. You can read the BBC reporting on Russia’s Twitter network here and the New Yorker’s article on regulation here.

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts,Audible,Google Podcasts, Spotify, or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation.

Individually, we are on Mastodon too: Daiva at @daivarep@dju.social and Eva at @evavonschaper@mastodon.social

Who are the Doctors Who Spread Disinformation and Why Do They Do It?

Who are the Doctors Who Spread Disinformation and Why Do They Do It?

November 18, 2022

As Dr. Oz loses his bid for a seat in the US Senate and the American Board of Internal Medicine moves to strip a falsehood-spreading doctor’s qualifications, we look at the phenomenon of medical doctors spreading COVID-19 disinformation on both sides of the Atlantic.

In this episode, we reference our earlier work:

- On homeopathy: https://www.theinoculation.com/homeopathy-a-pseudoscientific-gateway-to-anti-vaccine-views-and-covid-19-denialism/

- On a Swedish team that got an interview with Andrew Wakefield: https://www.theinoculation.com/how-anti-vaccination-movements-pull-parents-in/ 

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible,Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation. Individually, we are on Mastodon too: Daiva at @daivarep@dju.social and Eva at @evavonschaper@mastodon.social

 

Links

https://counterhate.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/210324-The-Disinformation-Dozen.pdf

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0256-5

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dr-oz-shouldnt-be-a-senator-or-a-doctor/

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/jan/27/anti-vaxxers-making-at-least-25m-a-year-from-publishing-on-substack



Conspiracy ​🤝 Spirituality = Conspirituality

Conspiracy ​🤝 Spirituality = Conspirituality

November 4, 2022

According to Pew Research, six-in-ten American adults accept at least one of New Age beliefs: psychics, spiritual energy, reincarmation and/or astrology. And overall, seven-in-ten women hold at least one New Age belief, compared to just over half of men. Research also shows that spiritual people are more likely to believe in COVID-19 conspiracies. That’s why in this episode we are looking at conspirituality — the merger of conspiracy theories and spiritual beliefs. We discuss the origins of the term, the different generations of conspirituality, and their influence today. We also talk to Dr. Eszter Szenes about the transatlantic links among conspiritual movements.

To make sure you never miss our stories, please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts,Audible,Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

Sources:

https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/granola-and-guns-rise-conspirituality

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/oct/17/eva-wiseman-conspirituality-the-dark-side-of-wellness-how-it-all-got-so-toxic

​​https://spir.aoir.org/ojs/index.php/spir/article/view/12093/10485

Homeopathy – a Pseudoscientific Gateway to Anti-Vaccine Views and COVID-19 Denialism?

Homeopathy – a Pseudoscientific Gateway to Anti-Vaccine Views and COVID-19 Denialism?

October 21, 2022

Homeopathy, the principle that ‘like cures like’ even in trace amounts, came to be at a time when opium, blood-letting and alcohol were all common treatments for illnesses. Study after study, it has been proven not to work, and testing of homeopathic products appears to often fail to follow established ethics. But many European countries allow selling sugar pills with ‘memory’ water alongside clinically tested drugs.

The idea of memory water also appeals to anti-vaccine entrepreneurs. And, as we discuss in this episode, homeopathic and anti-vaccine communities significantly overlap.

Sources:

https://en.rebaltica.lv/2021/02/who-spreads-the-vaccine-lies-in-the-baltics/ 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/10/ginger-root-and-meteorite-dust-the-steiner-covid-cures-offered-in-germany 

https://www.br.de/nachrichten/kultur/was-esoterik-mit-impfgegnern-zu-tun-hat,Sq9wIpr

https://www.medmedia.at/relatus-med/homoeopathen-rufen-zu-corona-impfung-auf/ 

https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/resources/homeopathy

How Russia Exploits Antivaxx Sentiment to Spread Energy Disinformation

How Russia Exploits Antivaxx Sentiment to Spread Energy Disinformation

October 7, 2022

The prospect of a cold winter makes energy a hot topic in Europe. Russia, aiming to chip away at Western support for Ukraine, has an interest in stoking people’s fears. And where does Russia find enthusiastic supporters? You guessed it — among public health skeptics.

This is the first episode of our 4th season, in which we will focus on Germany and the ways various health, energy and climate conspiracies link up there. For this episode we talked to GMFUS’s Bret Schafer and Kristine Berzina to learn about how Russia goes about shaping public opinion abroad.

Here are some of the information sources used for this episode:

Polling Nordstream 2: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1282647/umfrage/festhalten-am-projekt-nord-stream2/

Germans’ opinion now: https://www.n-tv.de/politik/Mehrheit-ist-gegen-Offnung-von-Nord-Stream-2-article23536541.html 

Share of Russian gas in Europe: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1201743/russian-gas-dependence-in-europe-by-country/

Dependency on Russia:
https://www.statista.com/chart/26768/dependence-on-russian-gas-by-european-country/

Russian gas reserves: https://www.statista.com/topics/6207/russian-natural-gas-industry/#dossierKeyfigures

 

Imports: https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/russian-gas-imports-in-the-eu-threat-or-a-chance.html

and: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/07/business/russia-gas-europe.html

How Russia cut gas supplies: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60131520 

 

Our earlier episodes:

Episode 25 - Are Antivaxxers More Likely to be Pro-Putin?

Episode 21 - The Falsehood Firehose: How Russian Disinformation Actors Spread Propaganda

Episode 18 - How Anti-Vaccination Movements Pull Parents In

Episode 17 - Fight Against Vaccine, Climate Disinformation Linked: Expert

Episode 11 - Social Media, Russia, Disinformation -- GMFUS' Bret Shafer

Episode 10 - 'Superspreaders of Malign' -- Disinformation Expert Miriam Matthews Talks About Russian Information Manipulation

Can Robots Detect Disinformation?

Can Robots Detect Disinformation?

July 1, 2022

We previously reported that robots can spew out new kinds of disinformation. But can they also help detect and flag it? To find out, Eva talked to researcher Giovanni Da San Martino, who is researching natural language processing at the University of Padova.

Here are some links to relevant studies: https://aclanthology.org/2020.emnlp-tutorials.2.pdf

https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1783004

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2104235118 

https://spj.sciencemag.org/journals/hds/2022/9858292/

And we invite you to listen to our story on a Spanish-language news service that targets misinformation.

This is the last episode of this season. We’ll be back in September. To make sure you never miss our stories, please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts,Audible,Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

As Tourism Returns, These Southern European Countries Are Still Vaccine Champions

As Tourism Returns, These Southern European Countries Are Still Vaccine Champions

June 17, 2022

Our story from Malta has made it to the Solutions Story Tracker — a rigorously curated database run by the Solutions Journalism Network. So today we invite you to revisit this story and hear an update on what the Mediterranean island country did to vaccinate its population against COVID-19. If you’re interested in vaccine mandates, you will probably enjoy our earlier episode on the topic.

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts,Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

Political Biases: What Role Do They Play in Disinformation?

Political Biases: What Role Do They Play in Disinformation?

June 3, 2022

Researching the benefits of situations where people come together to solve puzzles or make decisions, Cecilie Steenbuch Traberg realised that there is a dark side of collective intelligence. This led her to research fake news. When her team showed simulated social media posts, accurate or not, to a sample of Americans, it emerged that liberals more than conservatives judge information as reliable, even when it isn’t, when it comes from a source they trust. So The Inoculation team contacted Cecilie Steenbuch Traberg to find out more. You can read her and Sander van der Linden’s paper here. The tweet mentioned by Eva is here.

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

We Fact-checked VAIDS, a New Antivax New Conspiracy (Hint: It Doesn’t Exist)

We Fact-checked VAIDS, a New Antivax New Conspiracy (Hint: It Doesn’t Exist)

May 20, 2022

In this episode, we fact-check VAIDS, a made-up syndrome anti-vaxxers are using to scare people away from getting vaccinated.

Here is some background info: https://health-desk.org/articles/is-there-any-evidence-of-vaccine-acquired-immunodeficiency-in-relation-to-covid-19-vaccines-and-booster-shots

Here's the list of the "Disinfo Dozen": https://counterhate.com/research/the-disinformation-dozen/

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show onApple Podcasts, Audible,Google Podcasts, Spotify, or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation 

Elon Musk and Twitter - A Disinformation Nightmare?

Elon Musk and Twitter - A Disinformation Nightmare?

May 6, 2022

Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter has prompted the WHO to make a statement on misinformation. Misinformation costs lives, Mike Ryan, executive director of the health emergencies program at the WHO, said about the offer from Musk, a self-described free-speech absolutist. The Recode podcast has pointed out that in the past Musk was known for his trolling behavior.

Twitter has certain festures that make spreading disinformation easy. So this week The Inoculation explore the implications of the bid for the disinformation scene with the help of WF Thomas, a disinformation researcher. Eva talked to him while working on a story on audio disinformation, which was part of her Transatlantic Media Fellowship by the Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington, DC. You can read the BBC reporting on Russia’s Twitter network here and the New Yorker’s article on regulation here.

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible,Google Podcasts, Spotify, or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation

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