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misinformation, disinformation, vaccine, social media, regulation, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, COVID-19, pandemic, measles, algorithm, bots, influencer, European Union, Russia, soft law, anti-vaccine


This essay examines the main characteristics and shortcomings of mainstream social media responses to vaccine misinformation and disinformation. Parts I and II contextualize the recent expansion of vaccine information and disinformation in the online environment. Part III provides a survey and taxonomy of ongoing responses to vaccine misinformation adopted by mainstream social media. It further notes the limitations of current self-regulatory modes and illustrates these limitations by presenting a short case study on Facebook—the largest social media vehicle for vaccine-specific misinformation, currently estimated to harbor approximately half of the social media accounts linked to vaccine misinformation. Part IV examines potential ways to improve stringency of ongoing modes of self-regulation of vaccine misinformation, as well as the creation of cooperative monitoring and mutual assistance networks dedicated to addressing issues specific to the field of vaccine misinformation.