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Title:Scientific Credibility Behind MMR Vaccination Debates on Twitter
Author(s):Addawood, Aseel
Subject(s):Scientific sources
MMR vaccine
social media
Abstract:This research analyzes scientific information sharing behaviors on Twitter. Over an eleven-month period, we collected tweets related to the controversy over the supposed linkage between the MMR vaccine and autism. We examined the usage pattern of scientific information resources by both sides of the ongoing debate. Then, we explored how each side uses scientific evidence in the vaccine debate. To achieve this goal, we analyzed the usage of scientific and non-scientific URLs by both polarized opinions. A domain network, which connects domains shared by the same user, was generated based on the URLs "tweeted" by users engaging in the debate in order to understand the nature of different domains and how they relate to each other. Our results showed that people with anti-vaccine attitudes linked many times to the same URL while people with pro-vaccine attitudes linked to fewer overall sources but from a wider range of resources, and that they provided fewer total links compared to people with anti-vaccine attitudes. Moreover, our results showed that vocal journalists have a huge impact on users’ opinions. This study has the potential to improve understanding about how health information is disseminated via social media by showing how scientific evidence is referenced in discussions about controversial health issues. Monitoring scientific evidence usage on social media can reveal concerns and misconceptions related to the usage of these types of evidence.
Issue Date:2018
Citation Info:Addawood, A. (2018). Scientific Credibility Behind MMR Vaccination Debates on Twitter. In the 2018 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM 2018). Barcelona, Spain.
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-10-11

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