H-ISAC TLP White Virality Project Weekly Briefing July 14, 2021

Please find attached the latest weekly briefing from the Virality Project on COVID-19 vaccine social media narratives and misinformation. 

 This weeks report discusses a range of emerging narratives related to vaccines and the delta variant, discusses false claims which originated from misrepresented scientific articles, and follows up on ongoing concerns about myocarditis and child safety.

This week, the Virality Project Weekly Briefing covers the still-breaking news about a link between the J&J vaccine and Guillain-Barré Syndrome; the widespread backlash within right-leaning communities to the Biden administration’s push for door-to-door vaccine outreach; and the evolving conversation around the Delta variant and vaccine efficacy against it. The briefing also points to a new narrative about graphene oxide that leans on older stories about the vaccine containing poisonous chemicals.

The report was created by analysts from the Virality Project, a coalition of research entities focused on real-time detection, analysis, and response to COVID-19 anti-vaccine mis- and disinformation. The Virality Project supports information exchange between public health officials, government, and social media platforms through weekly briefings and real-time incident response.

To Report Suspected incidents of COVID-19 vaccine disinformation, please provide the information to toc@h-isac.org.

Health-ISAC will follow-up directly with the Virality Project for appropriate action.

Background:

Anti-vaccine disinformation poses significant challenges to the rollout and public adoption of COVID-19 vaccines. The anti-vaccine movement has well-developed online networks and expertise in leveraging social channels to spread its messages. These networked activism efforts have linked longtime anti-vaccine activists, health and wellness influencers, those who object to vaccination requirements as government overreach and politically-driven communities who have actively amplified COVID and other conspiracies. The movement is experienced, well-funded, and able to generate in-the-streets action. It has already begun to expend significant efforts to enter mainstream conversation and erode confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

The Virality Project’s objective is to detect, analyze, and respond to incidents of COVID-19 vaccine disinformation across online ecosystems, and ultimately mitigate the impact of narratives which would otherwise undermine the public’s confidence in the safety of these processes.

The partnership consists of analysts across six of the nation’s leading institutions focused on analysis of mis- and disinformation in the social media landscape: the Stanford Internet Observatory, the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics and Tandon School of Engineering, Graphika, and the National Conference on Citizenship. Members of this coalition bring with them the insights gained from previous collaboration on the US Election Integrity Partnership which, during the 2020 Election, coordinated the work of 120 analysts, published 32 blogposts on findings, and worked directly with platform partners to respond to over 800 unique incidents of election-related disinformation.

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