Creating Friction for Misinformation about COVID-19 Vaccines by Annotating (Re-)Sharer Social Media Accounts
Social media have been used as platforms to spread misinformation for a very long time by various groups exercising their freedom of speech, but with the emergence of health measures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the anti-vaccine misinformation has had grave consequences and cost many lives. Censorship and blocking misinformation-spreading on sites is undemocratic and hard to do technically since they appear under new accounts. Research has sought ways to inform users of the reliability of the information they are reading, hoping to prevent them from mindlessly spreading misinformation by re-sharing it. In this thesis, we implemented a new method and put it to the test. We annotated each account sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines. The annotation indicates how trustworthy the account is regarding COVID-19 vaccine-related posts. This method has been developed for posts containing Covid-19 vaccines information; however, it can be used generally on any topic. The uniqueness of this study is threefold. Firstly, it has not been done before. Secondly, The methods we used ensure the desirable changes in users’ behaviour, creating friction against misinformation circulating around social media. Finally, the last and the most significant, we found that neutral rating ratings were the most successful in creating friction against misinformation.
Misinformation, friction, social media, account annotation
Master of Science (M.Sc.)