If you ever wander into a holistic parenting group or a vaccine group that claims to offer “both sides” to educate folks about vaccines, you will, or at least you should, quickly notice that all of the posts and replies sound eerily alike.
If a parent asks about a tetanus shot for their child’s wound in one of these groups, no one will suggest that they rush to their pediatrician and get it.
The only disagreements you might see are whether they should treat the wound with colloidal silver, black salve, garlic, urine, activated charcoal, tea tree oil, raw honey, essential oils, or some other non-evidence based therapy.
It is no accident that folks get uniform advice against vaccines in these so-called vaccine “education” groups.
Anyone who goes against the “vaccines are dangerous” mantra of these groups typically has their comments quickly deleted and gets banned from the group.
“Echo chambers abound for many other conditions which are not medically recognised, from chronic Lyme disease to electromagnetic hypersensitivity. But perhaps most worrisome is the advance of anti-vaccine narratives across the web. The explosion of dubious sources has allowed them to propagate wildly, undeterred by debunking in the popular press. We might take the current drastic fall in HPV vaccine uptake in Ireland, driven by anti-vaccine groups like REGRET, despite its life-saving efficacy. While organisations including the Health Service Executive have valiantly tried to counter these myths, these claims are perpetuated across social media with little to stop them.”
Echo chambers are dangerous – we must try to break free of our online bubbles
After all, it is easier to feel confident in your decisions when you think that everyone else is doing the same thing. Of course they aren’t though. The great majority of people vaccinate and protect their kids.
It is only in these echo chambers of anti-vaccine misinformation that anyone would think that it would be okay to not get an unvaccinated toddler proper treatment for a cut, to skip a rabies shot after exposure to a rabid bat, or to not get travel vaccines before visiting high risk areas of the world.
That’s the power of confirmation bias.
And whether or not you realize it, confirmation bias is likely one of the reasons that you aren’t vaccinating and protecting your kids.
What to Know About Anti-Vaccine Censorhip
Anti-vaccine groups routinely censor, ban, and block messages from people who correct misinformation about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases.
More on Anti-Vaccine Censorship
- Freedom of Speech, Censorship, and Media Responsibility
- Tactics and tropes of the antivaccine movement
- Study – Polarization of the vaccination debate on Facebook.
- Study – Mapping the anti-vaccination movement on Facebook
- Study – Debunking in a world of tribes.
- Study – Science vs conspiracy: collective narratives in the age of misinformation.
- Antivax 101: Tactics and Tropes of the Antivaccine Movement
- Confirmation Bias And the Power of Disconfirming Evidence
- Vaccine injuries and confirmation biases
- The Power of Confirmation Bias
- Escape the echo chamber
- “Echo Chambers” and Scientific Misinformation Online
- I was Duped by the Anti-Vaccine Movement
- Leaving the Anti-Vaccine Movement
- Echo chambers are dangerous – we must try to break free of our online bubbles
- The anti-vaccine movement shows why Facebook is broken
- Anti-vax truthiness: How social Media echo chambers reinforce anti-vax beliefs in parents
- Antivaccinationists abuse reporting algorithms to silence pro-vaccine skeptics on Facebook
- Andrew Wakefield and the Tribeca Film Festival: Criticism of a bad decision ≠ “censorship”
- Tribeca Film Festival Pulls Anti-Vaccine Film
- Rob Schneider, Censorship and Free Speech…and Measles
- “Censorship.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
- Repeat after me: Enforcing medical and scientific standards is not “censorship”
- Australian Vaccination Network back to censoring critics with fraudulent copyright claims
- Trump Bans CDC From Using Words Like “Science-Based” and “Evidence-Based”
- Arthur Allen in Readers Digest and the false claims of false vaccine safety groups
- “Natural News” Mysteriously Disappears From Google Search Results
- Facebook Participating In Censorship of Science and Rational Thought. Again.