by Campbell Scheuerman
Understanding how the spread of anti-vaccination rhetoric happens and its effectiveness is ultimately the first step in beginning to address it. Vaccine hesitation has been named one of the issues of our generation to watch vigilantly and understand more about it, because of the devastating effects it can have on the world community. This thesis provides a preliminary window of insight into the issue. I show that anti-vaxx social media employed more conspiracy words, and higher levels of fear and overall emotion, although pinpointing the precise how and why is challenging due to the brevity of most social media posts. The findings of the study provide insight into how public authorities might better position themselves as trusted sources of accurate information of vaccines — an important goal as a vaccine for COVID-19 is on the horizon.
Text analysis methods used: lexical analysis, collocation analysis.