Vaccine movements on social media: a visual and network analysis

Pro- and anti-vaccine advocacy on Twitter.

Elena Milani investigated the dissemination and content of pro- and anti-vaccine images shared on Twitter. First, she conducted a social networks analysis to identify the networks and key actors involved in the visual vaccine debate and explore their relationships. Elena then applied visual content analysis to investigate the themes and figurative elements of the most shared images. Finally, she studied how context (e.g. text, hashtags, hyperlinks, user) influenced vaccine images' messages. 

Scientific controversies, such as vaccinations, are debated in the mainstream media as well as on social media, especially Twitter. On Twitter, both pro- and anti-vaccine movements spread their messages among their target audiences, and share images, which could convey information more effectively than written text, and hence influence public opinion toward vaccinations. Therefore, to improve science communication of vaccines on Twitter, it is fundamental to investigate how its networks represent vaccinations visually.

Read Elena’s thesis which is available via the UWE Bristol Research Repository.