Study finds overlap between vaccine hesitancy and QAnon

Early findings from an internal study by Facebook on doubts about the coronavirus vaccine reportedly include an overlap between users expressing skepticism about vaccines and accounts affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Facebook’s internal research is looking at posts that do not fall under its ban on vaccine misinformation but fall in more of a gray area, The Washington Post reported Sunday, citing documents on the study.

As part of the research, Facebook’s data scientists divided U.S. users, groups and pages into 638 population segments that hold vaccine hesitant beliefs, the Post reported.

Early evidence from the internal findings points to an overlap between the communities that are skeptical of vaccines and those affiliated with the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, according to the Post.

Facebook had pledged to ban all accounts affiliated with the conspiracy theory in October.

Users, however, continuously form new QAnon groups, accounts and pages using adversarial tactics that attempt to hide their affiliation with the theory, according to Facebook. As Facebook identifies the pages, they are taken down, the company says.