According to new research, 75% of the vaccine-related posts on Pinterest are negative towards vaccines.
Jeanine Guidry and her colleagues collected 800 “pins” — messages people have posted on Pinterest — and analyzed them to determine whether they are pro- or anti-vaccination. The sample was collected manually, as there is not yet a code to help collect pins using a hashtag or keyword.
The results revealed that 75% of all vaccine-related pins were negative. Messages ranged from simple posts questioning the safety of vaccines to more radical claims that vaccines are being created to kill people. 20% of the posts talked about conspiracy theories, such as pharmaceutical companies out to make money at the expense of children and governments trying to harm children for the purposes of population control.
“These are real fears that people have — from a public health perspective, we need to talk to people about their fears,” said Guidry. “But first we need to know what’s happening. Up to this point we didn’t even know these conversations were taking place on Pinterest.”
The results show a significant shift from earlier studies: in the mid-2000s, analyses of content on MySpace and YouTube revealed that vaccine-related posts were negative just 25% of the time.