Gonzalo López SánchezSEGUIR Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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it Is very possible that the pandemic of the COVID-19 does not end until a solution could be found pharmacological, in the form of a treatment or vaccine, which would provide a medicine to many millions of people. But when the time comes, what all these people want to medicate yourself?

A research was recently published in “Nature” has warned that there is the risk that movements antivacunas and the conspiracionismo be imposed, and in the end assuming a public health problem. Researchers from the George Washington University, US, have investigated the dynamics of 100 million users of Facebook during an outbreak of measles occurred in 2019 and have come to the conclusion that the groups antivacunas are less numerous but are more effective that the groups provacunas to disseminate your message. In addition, they believe that the h history could be repeated in full pandemic.

“The groups antivacunas that promoted the distrust of the government and the medical advice, including vaccination against measles, are now doing the same thing with the COVID-19,” he explained to ABC Neil Johnson, director of research, who on other occasions has used mathematical models to analyze how the hatred spreads through social networks. “It’s the perfect storm”.

Protests against the technology 5G and vaccines in Sofia, Bulgaria, may 14 – AFP

Johnson, social networks are a battlefield in which information is disseminated accurate, but which also multiplied the theories of the conspiracy, the false news and hate. In large measure, in his opinion, the problem is that the networks have the ability to amplify and level any information, regardless of its origin.

The problem is that if the message is anti-vaccine is amplified, “not vaccinated enough people and the future vaccine against the COVID-19 will be useless, in terms of herd immunity,” commented Johnson. In fact, the findings of the study suggest that the misinformation surrounding the pandemic, such as that Bill Gates is going to take advantage of the COVID-19 to make money or which with the vaccine was injected tracking devices, are already tilting the balance in favor of not vaccinating.

A map of the field of battle

“you can’t win a battle without a map of the field of battle,” said Neil Johnson. Therefore, his research has sought to draw a new map, by means of mathematical tools, with the aim of analyzing the behavior of communities of users in Facebook, in connection with vaccination against measles in 2019. It just so happens that this year measles suffered a considerable recovery in the united States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the country, the majority of the 1,300 people who were infected were not vaccinated.

Map of interactions between communities antivacuna (red), undecided (green), and blue (provacuna) – Neil Johnson

On this occasion, examined the functioning of communities of Facebook, covering 100 million users, from several continents and speaking different languages. is Classified these groups into three categories, depending on their opinions in connection with the vaccine: groups, groups antivacunas and groups “undecided”, formed by groups of parents, for example. Then, they analyzed the degree of interaction between these communities.

Thanks to all this, they discovered that, although there are more people in favor of the vaccine against, there are three times more groups of antivacunas communities in favor . In addition, they observed that groups antivacunas are highly interlaced with the groups of “undecided”, while the “provacunas” are more in the periphery and are not involved in the “battle” for the information.

the attractiveness of the message antivacuna

“we Thought that we would see the major institutions and departments of health in the center of the battle in the network,” said Johnson. “But we found otherwise. Are fighting in the wrong place” and are not countering the misinformation properly.

why? In the opinion of this scientist, “the success of the antivacunas lies in the fact that seasoned his message with a lot of issues are attractive, as is to question the role of big pharma, governments , to talk about civil liberties or freedom of choice,” said Neil Johnson. “In comparison with that, the groups in favor of the vaccine is limited to talk about scientific evidence: it is a message less attractive”.

Protests against the landfill in Lansing, Michigan (USA), last may 13 – AFP

For this reason, the authors of this study have suggested a number of strategies to combat misinformation, such as manipulating the connections between the communities to limit their growth, or else design strategies “provacuna” to measure for each group of “undecided”.

“The public health agencies, social media platforms and governments can use a map like ours and a set of totally new strategies to identify areas more active in the network and find out how to neutralize these communities that sell misinformation and are so harmful to the public”, has been proposed by researchers.

next you will study the relationship between these messages antivacuna and the nationalism, racism, mistrust, and voting patterns in the elections of 2020 in the united States . The fact that the COVID-19 is involved in the scientific uncertainty, it leads to which is about to be triggered the perfect storm in the united States, in the opinion of Neil Johnson: “Many green (undecided) will be passed to the red (antivacunas)”.