On Twitter, anti-vaccination sentiments spread more easily than pro-vaccination sentiments

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 12:01 in Health & Medicine

On Twitter, a popular microblogging and social-networking service, statements about vaccines may have unexpected effects—positive messages may backfire, according to a team of Penn State University researchers led by Marcel Salathé, an assistant professor of biology. The team tracked the pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine messages to which Twitter users were exposed and then observed how those users expressed their own sentiments about a new vaccine for combating influenza H1N1—a virus strain responsible for swine flu. The results, which may help health officials improve strategies for vaccination-awareness efforts, will be published in the journal EPJ Data Science on 4 April 2013.

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