Drowned out by the algorithm: Pro vaccine advocates struggle online

Mar 2012
54,789
36,423
New Hampshire
#1
It isnt just politics it seems, but now healthcare and vaccinations. Wonder if there will come a day when humans regret social media?

In 2008, Vaccinate Your Family, the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to advocating for vaccinations, had to stop posting videos to YouTube.

Then known as Every Child By Two, the organization had used its channel on the massive video platform to post interviews with doctors, public service announcements and testimonials from parents of children who had died of vaccine-preventable diseases.

But those messages were quickly sabotaged. YouTube’s recommendation system, which appears alongside videos and suggests what users should watch next, would direct viewers to anti-vaccination videos, according to Amy Pisani, executive director of Vaccinate Your Family. YouTube’s recommendation system, powered by an algorithm that the company does not make public, has been criticized in recent years for favoring controversial and conspiratorial content.

“They were insane. Videos like ‘My child was harmed by the DTaP’ or ‘My child can’t walk anymore,’ every conspiracy that you can imagine would come after ours,” Pisani said. "They actually started running right after our video was over, so if you blinked for a minute, you wouldn’t know it was a new video.” “The public understanding of science has shifted dramatically by people moving from Google search into social media to get information about vaccines or any health information,” said Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. “And this is to their detriment.”

Facebook — which recommends anti-vaccination groups, and allows anti-vaccination groups to target pregnant woman and mothers in paid advertising — has said it “is working” on unspecified changes in regards to health-related misinformation.

And on social media, the anti-vaccination proponents seem to be winning.

Drowned out by the algorithm: Pro-vaccination advocates struggle to be heard online
 
Mar 2012
54,789
36,423
New Hampshire
#3
Nov 2010
23,156
14,834
#5
Same thing as the entire history of humanity, human beings being idiots and being swayed and influence by people in power to get them to support stupid, or downright nasty things. Technology has now allowed lies and misinformation to be spread around way too easily.
 

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