Online Article

Covid-19 vaccine misinformation and narratives surrounding Black communities on social media

October 13, 2021

This study by First Draft collected and thematically analyzed the top-performing vaccine-related social media posts – from unverified Facebook Pages and Groups to Instagram and Twitter accounts – surrounding Black communities from November 2020 to June 2021. The study also identified and closely monitored Black anti-vaccine influencers on those same digital platforms. The combined research offers a series of recommendations for platforms, policymakers, communications professionals, journalists and researchers, all of whom play essential roles in ensuring that access to reliable information related to vaccines is equitable and reaches Black communities. Such recommendations for social media platforms are to consistently act on policy violations by by influencers with large followings and allow for better data access to researchers and journalists investigating the kinds of information presented to Black communities. Suggested actions by journalists and researchers investigating misinformation targeting Black people are to recognize the influence of alternative social media platforms popular among Black communities, acknowledge the origins of Black mistrust around Covid-19 vaccines and be less reductionist in their reporting, and consider more emphasis on vaccine narratives (both positive and negative) as a whole instead of the creation of separate entities.