Facebook users are even more likely to 'resist' COVID vaccines than Fox News viewers: report

Facebook users are even more likely to 'resist' COVID vaccines than Fox News viewers: report
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccinePfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, Wikimedia Commons

Former President Donald Trump has filed a frivolous lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, claiming that the tech giants are discriminating against Republicans. But on the other hand, Never Trump conservative Joe Scarborough, one of the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," has repeatedly slammed Facebook for failing to police far-right disinformation posted via the platform — including disinformation on COVID-19. And according to a report by the Washington Post published this week, people are more likely to buy into anti-vaxxer claims if they get their information from Facebook — even more likely than Fox News viewers.

Fox News has had plenty of far-right anti-vaxxer commentary, especially from Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — although Sean Hannity recently encouraged vaccinations from COVID-19.

"Survey data can't prove conclusively whether using Facebook affects vaccine acceptance and resistance," a group of Washington Post reporters explain. "However, the data can indicate whether people who get their news from Facebook have higher or lower vaccination rates than those who don't. In the Covid States Project survey we conducted, we find a surprisingly strong relationship. If you rely on Facebook to get news and information about the coronavirus, you are substantially less likely than the average American to say you have been vaccinated. In fact, Facebook news consumers are less likely to be vaccinated than people who get their coronavirus information from Fox News."

The Post reporters note that the publication's Covid States Project "has used large-scale surveys to track coronavirus-related issues since the start of the pandemic" and that the Biden Administration has expressed concerns about anti-vaxxer disinformation being consumed via Facebook.

"We find that Facebook is a major source of information about the coronavirus, comparable to Fox News and CNN," the Post reporters explain. "We also asked the respondents whether they had been vaccinated, whether they might get vaccinated in the future or alternatively whether they would not get vaccinated. Respondents who get news about the coronavirus via Facebook are less likely to get vaccinated than the average American."

The Post reporters continue, "Sixty-one percent of those Facebook users said they had been vaccinated, vs. 68% of the eligible U.S. population and 71% of non-Facebook users. The relationship was stronger for those who said that they had received coronavirus news or information only from Facebook and not from any of the other sources mentioned. Sixteen percent of all respondents fall into this category, and only 47% of them report being vaccinated, with 25 % saying they will not get vaccinated."

The reporters also point out that "Newsmax was the only information source we examined that had lower levels of vaccination and higher vaccine resistance than Facebook, among people who rely on it for information."

Newsmax TV is a cable news outlet that prides itself on being to the right of Fox News and Fox Business and more pro-Trump.

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