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Study: Fake Russian Twitter Accounts Politicized Discourse About Vaccines


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Representations of the two major U.S. political parties.

University at Buffalo researchers found that fraudulent Twitter accounts created by the Russian Internet Research Agency may have contributed to politicizing Americans views on the nature and efficacy of vaccines.

Credit: buffalo.edu

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found that activity from fraudulent Twitter accounts created by the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) between 2015 and 2017 may have contributed to politicizing Americans’ views on the nature and efficacy of vaccines.

The researchers used a machine learning method to analyze nearly 3 million tweets from phony accounts, and found the Russian IRA had targeted Republicans and Democrats differently in order to intensify the political divide.

Said the University at Buffalo’s Yotam Ophir, “The virus is not political, but when any health topic becomes a political matter at the expense of fact, the result is to base conclusions and make decisions, such as whether to social distance or not, on party loyalty, not science. That’s extremely dangerous.”

From University at Buffalo News Center
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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