LLYC believes in the importance of data-driven analysis in decision making within the public and private sector. LLYC has carried out an independent study into the English- and Spanish-language conversation around vaccination in the United States. These findings can help policymakers at the regional and federal levels, as well as interested private parties, create strategies to address vaccine misinformation in the country.
Looking at almost 2 million posts over a five-month period, this study reveals insights into the digital conversation on COVID-19 vaccination and related topics.
Nov. 1, 2020 - April 29, 2021
The digital conversation on vaccination
For this study, LLYC used its data analytics capabilities to look closely at the digital conversation around the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. This study looked at over 2 million posts published between November 2020 and April 2021 from accounts in the United States, including from the U.S. Hispanic community.
- The conversation falls into two well-distinguished macro-communities, broken down into several sub-communities based on common interest:
- Pro-vaccination, which includes neutral communities providing general information and communities more actively defending vaccination.
- Anti-vaccination, a large and diverse community with some radical components.
- The #1 falsehood being spread about the new COVID vaccine is that it alters your DNA.
- While most U.S. Hispanics showed fear and doubt regarding the vaccine (generally because they have received misleading information) up until March 2021, this trend reversed in April. Now, most U.S. Hispanics are pro-vaccination.
- This was in part thanks to the education efforts made by scientists, journalists, and the government.
- Mass media is not relevant to the conversation, but some specific journalists are more vocal actors.
- Vaccine laboratories and other pharmaceutical companies or authorities do not participate in or lead any of these communities, despite their relevance to their goals.
Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and other technologies have substantially improved our ability to perform data analytics, giving us an invaluable tool for studying social phenomena of all kinds, including the evolving vaccine conversation.
This study used these tools to analyze the relationships between the people and organizations participating in this discussion.
- By analyzing relationships, LLYC identified numerous communities. These are defined as groups of people with high levels of interrelation among them (and notably weaker relationships with other conversation participants).
- A community is usually built around common interests and tends to have homogeneous outlooks and positions regarding the issues being discussed.
- They are typically led by a few accounts with much higher levels of influence than the rest of the community members.
- This study represents communities sociographically.
- People and social profiles are represented by individual nodes.
- Node size represents level of influence.
- Lines between nodes indicate relationships between them, with thicker lines representing stronger relationships.
- Each community has been given a different color to help differentiate them.
Both within the national conversation and each community, LLYC used three aspects to directly identify the interests of the individuals included in the study. These were found by grouping and weighting:
- Power Profiles, which are the most relevant voices within each community. To look beyond follower counts, LLYC used AI to determine the scope and degree of influence these profiles have both within the general conversation and in their particular communities.
- Hashtags, which represent the community conversation that make their messages more visible on the platform as a whole.
- Keywords, referring to the most commonly used words (by frequency) within publications.
“Power profiles” are the individuals, companies, or institutions leading the digital conversation on vaccination in the United States. Each macro-community has numerous subgroups within it, each of which has its own Power Profiles. The power profiles for the overall conversation are author and former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson (anti-vaccine), Professor Joyce Alene (pro-vaccine), and Dr. Megan Ranney (pro-vaccine).
Hashtags are content-oriented words or phrases following the hash symbol (#) that help organize content on social media, such as posts, images, and videos.
In this conversation, LLYC identified several important hashtags with misleading vaccine information, as well as some others defending and promoting vaccination.
Keywords are the most used words within a conversation or community. They help clarify the main conversation topics, identify writing style, and provide other valuable insights.
The most important keywords identified in this study include vaccine brands, risks, and general terms like “COVID” or “vaccine.”
LLYC found that the states with the highest participation are mainly in the southern U.S., both by size and scope within the global conversation. These regions generated more than 385,000 posts from 153,000 people, accounting for 49% of the global conversation and reaching more than 1 billion social media accounts.
|District of Columbia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio||10,121||20,912||3.57%||74,779,435|
Profession and Gender Distribution
We found that 53.36% of users identify as men, in this new review 52% of users are men, which represents a reduction of 1.36% in the general demographic. In the case of women, we found 48% of users identified as women, this is an increase of 1.36%. Comparing the different communities, we find the gender distribution by communities in the following table.
Within the update of the study, we find that the group that corresponds to students and teachers is the most active, with 20% of the publications. Artists and actors are the second most relevant group with 19% (it is important to mention that many users who use humor as expression define themselves as artists, so they should not be thought of as musical or dramatic artists or actors, but rather humorists in a broad sense). Journalists are the third group of users with high activity, they represent 16% of the conversations.
|Scientists & Researchers||7409||7%||15821898|
|Sportpersons & Trainer||4858||5%||6297483|
|Teachers & Students||20801||20%||45039547|
The data identified a single “hyper-community” discussing topics relevant to COVID-19 vaccination.
Within this are several sub communities, naturally grouped according to common interests and relationships between the thousands of people in the conversation.
To better identify community members, each is represented by the same color across graphs.
November 9, 2020
Pfizer announces initial test results of its vaccine with 90% effectiveness.
November 18, 2020
Pfizer says his vaccine has a 95% effectiveness against COVID-19 with no serious side effects
December 8, 2020
The U.K. begins vaccination for Covid-19 Tuesday using shots from Pfizer Inc. Senator for Florida Florida appeals “have more than just the Pfizer vaccine And it was smart to not put all our eggs in one companies basket” FDA says Pfizer COVID vaccine is highly effective, even after first dose
December 11, 2020
FDA has authorized Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use
December 18, 2020
The FDA has approved the Moderna COVID19 vaccine for emergency use.
December 30, 2020
People are encouraged to be confident and take the covid vaccine second shot and be critical about misleading information against vaccines.
January 11, 2021
Concerns about the possible effects for those who will receive the second dose of the vaccine
January 15, 2021
23 people vaccinated with the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine die
February 12, 2021
Concerns about side effects after receiving the second dose of the vaccine
February 24, 2021
Concerns about side effects after receiving the second dose of the vaccine
February 27, 2021
The FDA authorized Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine, the first that requires only a single shot.
March 11, 2021
Denmark suspends use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine following concerns over potentially dangerous side effects.
April 13, 2021
FDA recommends pausing Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to reports of blood clots.
April 29, 2021
FDA publications explain the benefits of being fully vaccinated, include being able to go outdoors or be around other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, or safely visit churches, gyms, bars, and restaurants while masked.