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.
Our reporting is supported by IJ4EU and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. 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
After a wave of protests against vaccines and vaccine mandates in Europe, it is clear that despite very different policies across Europe, anti-vaccination movements that oppose them are remarkably alike. These movements are tightly linked, even though some of their connections are hidden. They amplify one another, and they have elaborate ways to support their activities financially - from selling books on Amazon to offering legal services to anyone who feels they have been harmed by vaccination.
We had discussed this with disinformation researcher Dr Aliaksandr Herasimenka, so we thought we will come back to this interview and highlight his insights that explain the mobilisation around vaccines these days. A researcher at the Computational Propaganda Project of the Oxford Internet Institute, Herasimenka is a co-author of a paper on misinformation distribution on Telegram.
The interview was edited for brevity and clarity. You can read the Alliance for Securing Democracy's research on China's propaganda and search engines here. We ran such a search ourselves, and the clips in the beginning of the episode are from the results we got.
Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. 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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A number of relevant articles, studies and data has recently come out, so Eva and Daiva review suggested readings for The Inoculation’s September round-up.
You can read these sources here:“Vaccine Passports” May Backfire: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Study in the UK and Israel on Willingness to Get Vaccinated against COVID-19;The story of the German gas station shooting: Der Tagesspiegel, Der Spiegel;Covid denialists and far-right movements;AfD, German elections and Facebook;Facebook’s international impact, and more;NDI’s playbook: Combating Information Manipulation;The Johns Hopkins Center’s survey dashboard;Article by Tech Policy Press;The Economist’s op-ed on freedom and vaccine mandatesWSJ podcasts about Facebook
And check out our episodes on vaccine mandates and disinformation in Slovakia.
In our first episode after the summer break we discuss mandatory vaccination mandates - something we have been researching before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In late 2020, we talked to former European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who has a lot of experience with vaccine mandates.
As a commissioner, Andriukaitis campaigned for vaccination measures around Europe. But before that, as Lithuania’s minister of health, he introduced vaccine requirements for children, following a measles outbreak in 2013. But when he left for the Commission, without strong backing from the top, the legislation became stuck in parliament and was eventually repealed. Another measles outbreak followed in 2019, and vaccination became an electoral issue in Lithuania. You can read more about Lithuania’s struggle with vaccine hesitancy in our article.
We also talk to Oxford Vaccine Group researcher Samantha Vanderslott, University of Exeter Professor Jason Reifler, and Italian pediatrician Lorenza Romani.
Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to 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.
Hi listeners. before we leave for our summer breaks, we are taking a look back at some of our most insightful conversations about disinformation and misinformation. This week’s conversation is with Bret Shafer, the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s media and digital disinformation fellow
Parts of the interview appeared in Episode 7. In this episode, Bret Shafer mentions misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. You can hear an explainer of the differences among them here.
In this episode, we talked to Miriam Matthews author of a report published in April called Superspreaders of Malign and Subversive Information. It describes the types of COVID-19-related malign and subversive information efforts with which Russia- and China-associated outlets appear to have targeted U.S. audiences from January 2020 to July 2020.
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After listening to podcasts and reading numerous articles and reports on vaccine disinformation, Eva and Daiva have decided to share some of them. This is the first episode of The Inoculation's quarterly press roundup.
You can find episode 6 on Sputnik V here and episode 8 on vaccine geopolitics here. The story on vaccine mandates in Russia is here. In this episode, we refer to Heidi Larson's book and a profile on her, Coda Story's article on disinformation in Spain, First Draft's article on disinformation in West Africa, a Eurofound survey, and we listen to a new podcast.
An elaborate media network promotes Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine by undermining the others, currently approved by the European Union. But what happens when an EU country decides to buy the Sputnik vaccine? Does vaccine disinformation adapt? Slovakia has recently started injecting the Sputnik doses it bought in winter. Daiva and Eva try to figure out what happened with help from Slovak journalist Lukáš Onderčanin.
To learn more about disinformation, you can read the EUvsDisinfo’s report. To learn how Slovakia succeeded in containing the first wave but then infections went out of control in autumn, you can read articles on Foreign Policy and The Atlantic and listen to our earlier episode on how the health ministry was combating misinformation on social media. You can read more about Slovakia’s Sputnik V purchase here and about the domino effect in the region here.
Across Europe, some countries are about to finish vaccinating the most vulnerable residents against COVID-19. It’s time to offer the jab to the general population -- and some are not only refusing vaccines, but also calling on others to shun them. Research shows that neither more fact-checks nor more experts will tilt the population’s attitudes towards vaccines.
In this collaborative episode between Are We Europe and The Inoculation, we look into how parents find their way with so much confusing information online, and what approach to vaccine hesitancy works.
You can read more about the politics of vaccination in Italy in Time magazine, Newsweek and Nature. You can find the study mentioned in the podcast here.
Our interpreter in this episode was Romina Spina. Our assistant producers were Andrei Popoviciu and Priyanka Shankar.
Our reporting is supported by Journalismfund.eu, Media Lab Bayern and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung. Please subscribe to 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. You can also follow Are We Europe on all these social networks or become a member at areweeurope.com/member.
In this episode, we took a look at how the Russian government and its media networks used their power and reach to discredit Covid vaccines made by Western companies and how it boosted its own Sputnik V Covid jab -- and how this might backfire. Experts say that attributing anonymous or obfuscated social media profiles is tricky, but they tend to be remarkably consistent and align with the goal of promoting Sputnik V at the expense of Western, but not Chinese vaccines.
We talked to Seb Cubbon, a research analyst at First Draft (one of their reports here), Miriam Matthews, senior behavioral and social scientist at RAND, Olga Dobrovidova, a Russian science journalist, Bret Schafer from the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), Peter Stano, lead spokesperson at the European External Action Service, which is the EU’s diplomatic service, and Peter Balasz, a former diplomat and professor emeritus, Central European University.
You can read more about vaccine disinformation in the New York Times, CNN and other sources. A link to the transcript is here.
Disinformation, misinformation, propaganda: While reading the transcript of a an interview with a disinformation researcher, Eva and Daiva noticed that the distinction between misinformation and disinformation was often unclear to them. So in this episode of The Inoculation they look for clear definitions and helpful examples of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda.
Try your hand at EU vs Disinfo's quiz and see if you can distinguish them. You can find a helpful academic guide on these issues here. A summary of First Draft's research, mentioned in the episode, is available here.
Aggressive political networks, associations of concerned parents and even state-affiliated media - many actors have been found to share misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the EU. "Oxford seems to have created a vaccine for monkeys," a host on Rossiya 1 channel said in September. Why are they doing this? And how can we measure the influence these messages have on internet users?
To find out, Daiva and Eva talk to Dr Aliaksandr Herasimenka, a postdoctoral researcher at the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute. "The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused a huge political and social disruption across the world. We will see emergence of new types of political groups, political organisations that will be more disruptive than what we previously called populists. They will be potentially more damaging to democracy," he says.
Herasimenka is a co-author of a paper on misinformation distribution on Telegram. You can read all his papers here. In this episode Eva mentions comparisons of pandemic-related restrictions to the Holocaust - you can read more about the phenomenon here, here and here.
Our research is supported by Journalismfund.eu. Please subscribe to 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
After a series of delivery hiccups and reports of some frontliners not showing up for their jabs, Europe - and other regions - tensely awaited the European Medicines Agency's assessment on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Its rollout was shrouded in rumours from the start. How can journalists navigate the landscape of statistics and personal testimonies? How can we best answer readers' questions? And how can everyone be better prepared for conversations about vaccines in their community?
To find out The Inoculation talked to freelance journalist Laura Oliver. Laura is the author of A Freelancer's Guide for Reporting on Vaccines, published by the European Journalism Centre. She previously worked as a community coordinator at The Guardian, where one of her duties was sourcing eyewitness accounts from the ‘Arab Spring’. Later she worked on the GuardianWitness platform, before starting off as a freelancer and co-founding the Society of Freelance Journalists. You can read more about the reporting guide here and more about Laura here.
The Inoculation's team has lately been looking into misinformation. Together with colleagues in Latvia and Estonia, we investigated misinformation in the Baltic States for a story published in Re:Baltica. In this episode of our podcast, we look at how authorities are combating health-related misinformation in Slovakia.
Jakub Goda, an experienced social media professional, joined his country's public sector to identify and counter health-related misinformation. "Governments and government institutions should use creative, digitally skilled people to communicate in the social media environment, and digital environment in general, and not to rely on old-school bureaucratic way of responding to journalists' questions," he says. "It's a kind of deeper mental transformation that needs to happen."
You can read how he infiltrated a misinformation-spreading website here. You can also read about the People's Party - Our Slovakia, mentioned in this episode, on Deutsche Welle. More information on the party's links to health misinformation is available on The Slovak Spectator.
Our research is supported by Journalismfund.eu. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation
Are 'vaccine hesitancy', 'vaccine skepticism' and 'anti-vaccination sentiment' synonyms? Do people who say they doubt vaccine safety always refuse vaccines? In this episode Eva and Daiva discuss the challenges researchers face when trying to estimate the size of the anti-vaccination movement and the number of its sympathizers.
Our interviewees are: Prof. Maya Goldenberg, Dr Jonathan Kennedy, Prof. Jason Reifler, Dr Samantha Vanderslott. We also thank Col. Gintaras Koryzna for providing valuable data. You can read the Slate article we reference here. In addition, we refer to the Wellcome Global Monitor 2018.
Do read our story in Nara: https://bit.ly/3auBWke. Lithuanian readers can find our story on vaccination in electoral debates in the February issue of the IQ magazine. Our research is supported by Journalismfund.eu
Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation
Hello and welcome to The Inoculation, a podcast where we tell international stories on health, misinformation, vaccines, COVID-19, public policies, and more. We, Daiva Repečkaitė and Eva von Schaper, are two journalists looking into the politics and values surrounding public health, starting from vaccination.
We also publish our stories in news outlets in multiple languages, which you can see here. Our research on vaccine skepticism is supported by Journalismfund.eu
Please subscribe to this podcast wherever you like to listen. You can follow The Inoculation on Twitter at @TInoculation. You can also follow us individually: Eva at @EvavonSchaper and Daiva at @daiva_hadiva