Russian trolls fueled anti-vaccination debate in U.S. by spreading misinformation on Twitter, study finds - 2019-05-31
Russian Twitter trolls have attempted to fuel the anti-vaccination debate in the U.S., posting about the issue far more than the average Twitter user last year, a study out of George Washington University has found. The "sophisticated" bots shared opinions from both sides of the anti-vaxxer debate, which took the U.S. by storm and prompted tech companies to crack down on the spread of misinformation surrounding vaccinations.
In the study, professor David Broniatowski and his colleagues say the Russian trolls' efforts mimic those used in the past. Such trolls ramp up controversial issues in the U.S. by inflating different viewpoints, the study says.
The U.S. is in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in the country in 25 years. Health officials say misinformation and anti-vax messages have led more people to avoid vaccination, allowing the disease to spread.