A new study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate has found that just twelve people are responsible for the majority of anti-vaxx content found on major social media platforms.
The CCDH's latest report (.pdf) names people who are in a group that it has labeled the "Disinformation Dozen" who are responsible for 73 percent of the anti-vaxx content found on Facebook and whose content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times across the platform.
Included among the "Disinformation Dozen" are infamous anti-vaccination activists such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and also "alternative medicine" practitioners such as Ty and Charlene Bollinger, who have gained notoriety for pitching what critics describe as "snake oil" alternatives to vaccines.
"Despite repeatedly violating Facebook, Instagram and Twitter's terms of service agreements, nine of the Disinformation Dozen remain on all three platforms, while just three have been comprehensively removed from just one platform," the report states.
The CCDH's study comes as NPR has released a new report this week documenting the ways that anti-vaxxers are using misleading news story headlines to promote a narrative that getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus could kill you.
In particular, NPR found that stories about people dying after getting vaccinated are spreading like wildfire across social media, even those these people's deaths had nothing to do with getting vaccinated.
"On March 11 for instance, all six of the stories in the top 20 most-engaged-with vaccine stories were about the same Utah woman who died four days after receiving her second vaccine dose," NPR writes. "One Facebook page with 20,000 followers posted a link to the article, with the caption 'I'll pass on the vaccinations. I could care less of anyone's opinion... this is horrifically sad.'"