Social media platforms are making up to $1bn a year from people following anti-vaccine misinformation that could cause “tens of thousands” of coronavirus deaths, researchers say.
The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) said the number of people viewing pages and posts claiming that a Covid-19 vaccine is unnecessary or would pose a health risk had risen dramatically during the pandemic.
Despite pledges by Facebook and others to crack down on harmful posts, a report found that at least 57 million users now follow anti-vaxxers on mainstream platforms across the UK and US – up 7.7 million since the start of the outbreak.
A YouGov poll suggested that almost one in five British adults say they would refuse the injection if it becomes available, and a further 15 per cent are unsure.
The research suggested that people