Dec 8, 2020 - Technology

Exclusive: Most Americans don't trust social media on COVID-19 vaccine info

Ina Fried
Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than half of Americans say they have little or no trust in social media when it comes to information on the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Harris Poll data shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: For a vaccine to be effective in taming the pandemic, people will have to receive accurate information — and then be able to identify it as such. For many, that will mean receiving it elsewhere than on social media.

Details: According to the survey, 57% of Americans say they have either no trust or not much trust in the COVID-19 vaccine info they encounter on social media, compared to 43% who had either some trust or a great deal of trust in such information.

  • 64% of Republicans said they had no or not much trust in social media info, compared to 46% of Democrats and 63% of those registered as independent or other.

Yes, but: Information on social media covers a broad range of sources, from health agencies and mainstream media to things your aunt heard from her friend.

  • Nearly seven in 10 Americans said "social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter should aggressively monitor information about COVID-19 vaccines on their platform and remove any information they consider to be misleading."
  • A similar number said "social media companies should establish clear guidelines as to what is considered credible information and sources on COVID-19 vaccines and only allow users to share from these sources."
  • But that means nearly a third of Americans believe social media companies should let people share whatever information they want on COVID-19 vaccines, even if the platform considers it to be misleading.
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