The Inoculation — Vaccine Misinformation and Society
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.

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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.

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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/

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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.

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Wary of Russian Aggression, the Baltics Contain Political Falsehoods but Struggle with COVID Disinfo

Wary of Russian Aggression, the Baltics Contain Political Falsehoods but Struggle with COVID Disinfo

April 22, 2022

Disinformation warfare is not new to the Baltic States - and they have been boosting their preparedness since 2014 and were lauded as successful. Then why did countering COVID-19 disinformation prove challenging?

In December, Daiva and Eva spoke to Nika Aleksejeva, who is a data journalism trainer and lead researcher for the Baltics at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab. “COVID-19 disinformation is a very good lesson for us to be less naive about our capabilities,” she says.

You can read more about Latvia's disinformation actors here. You can also read our Re:Baltica article about the superspreaders of vaccine disinformation in the Baltics here. Daiva recently wrote a story about how the war in Ukraine effects people in Lithuania - you can read it here.

Please subscribe to our newsletter, and this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify or another platform of your choice. Transcripts are at www.theinoculation.com

​​After the investigation is complete, you will be able to find the code we used for the analysis of the European Parliament's data on our GitHub repository. The production of this investigation is supported by a grant from the IJ4EU fund. The International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and any other partners in the IJ4EU fund are not responsible for the content published and any use made out of it.

Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation.

Are Antivaxxers More Likely to be Pro-Putin?

Are Antivaxxers More Likely to be Pro-Putin?

April 8, 2022

As part of our data investigation, we took a look at politicians' tweets in the Netherlands. We found that far-right politicians are more likely to tweet about anti-vaccine topics, but we also saw that tweeters with antivaxx stances were more supportive of Vladimir Putin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

We talked to Erin Jenne, an expert on topics of nationalism, populism, and foreign policy analysis at Central European University, as well as  Eszter Szenes, an expert on extremism.

After the investigation is complete, you will be able to find the code we used for the analysis of the Portuguese data on our GitHub repository. Transcripts are at www.theinoculation.com. The production of this investigation is supported by a grant from the IJ4EU fund. The International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and any other partners in the IJ4EU fund are not responsible for the content published and any use made out of it.

Links: https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2022/03/rotterdam-philharmonic-cuts-ties-with-russian-conductor-valeri-gergiev/

https://theconversation.com/dutch-elections-mark-rutte-wins-another-term-but-fragmented-results-mask-continuing-popularity-of-the-far-right-156993

Portugal: Is Europe’s Vaccine Hero Losing Its “Special Balance”, Allowing Right-Wing Parties to Flourish?

Portugal: Is Europe’s Vaccine Hero Losing Its “Special Balance”, Allowing Right-Wing Parties to Flourish?

March 25, 2022

After elections in January, Portuguese Socialists have secured an absolute majority, promising political continuity in the country that enjoys Europe's highest rate of vaccination against COVID-19. But the side story of the election was that Portugal's previous immunity to far-right representation in parliament has waned: the Chega party increased its presence from just one to 12 seats.

Chega's main pitch was opposition to the so-called elite, known as "the big center" in Portugal. And, as our analysis shows, this extends to opposing vaccine mandates and restrictions. To find out more, Daiva talked to Portuguese researchers Silvia Roque and Daniel Garcia.

You can find a Nature article about Portugal’s “special balance” here. Daniel Garcia’s thesis (in English) is available here. And this is a video of the prime minister being confronted by anti-vaccination protesters. And this is the link to the State of Hate 2021 report. Transcripts are at www.theinoculation.com

​​After the investigation is complete, you will be able to find the code we used for the analysis of the Portuguese data on our GitHub repository. The production of this investigation is supported by a grant from the IJ4EU fund. The International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and any other partners in the IJ4EU fund are not responsible for the content published and any use made out of it.

The French Elections are Coming up. Right-Wing Politicians Are Dominating the Vaccine Debate on Twitter.

The French Elections are Coming up. Right-Wing Politicians Are Dominating the Vaccine Debate on Twitter.

March 11, 2022

We used a custom Twitter scraper to collect and analyse the tweets of 12 candidate's slated to run in the first round of the French presidential election on April 10.  We discuss our findings and talk to Estelle Brun, an associate research fellow at IRIS - Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques in Paris.

This is a summary of what candidates think about vaccination. You can read specifically about vaccine passports here and about racism and exclusion in electoral debates here. You can also listen to our episode where we discuss how vaccine mandates may backfire - featuring former European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

After the investigation is complete, you will be able to find the code we used for the analysis of the French data on our GitHub repository. The Twitter list of French presidential candidates can be found here. The production of this investigation is supported by a grant from the IJ4EU fund. The International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and any other partners in the IJ4EU fund are not responsible for the content published and any use made out of it.

The Falsehood Firehose: How Russian Disinformation Actors Spread Propaganda

The Falsehood Firehose: How Russian Disinformation Actors Spread Propaganda

February 25, 2022

As Russia invades Ukraine, we revisited our conversation with Miriam Matthews, author of a report published last April called Superspreaders of Malign and Subversive Information. It describes how Russia actors use malign and subversive information efforts to target U.S. audiences from January 2020 to July 2020. While we couldn't foresee current developments, the interview is still a valuable look at how Russia spreads disinformation.

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Will Super-Powerful Artificial Intelligence Turbocharge Disinformation? Episode 22

Will Super-Powerful Artificial Intelligence Turbocharge Disinformation? Episode 22

February 11, 2022

Georgetown University researchers programmed a text generator to come up with disinformation on climate change and politics. Once tweeted, the computer-generated disinformation persuaded test subjects, and could even nudge the readers to change their minds on important subjects such as climate change and politics. 

This episode explores the power and the limits of AI-generated disinformation. We talk to Micah Musser, an analyst at Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

This episode was produced with the support of the Transatlantic Media Fellowship by the Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington, DC. 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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