Deciding to join a conversation that’s already 100 posts in can seem daunting.  

I therefore decided to provide a “highlights reel” here so that you can learn the stuff you missed and, hopefully, feel comfortable enough to join the conversation.


Anti-vaccination groups on Facebook  are very popular, some as large as 150,000 members.

Pinterest explicitly calls out in their terms no promotion of anti vaccine ideas.

Russian troll accounts and sophisticated bots tweeted about vaccination significantly more often than average users. (source)

Some things are naturally terrifying, compelling us to go to extremes to ensure safety. Other things aren't terrifying so we take fewer or no precautions.

One weakness of group think is that teenagers tend to develop their own trusted communities that challenge accepted parental beliefs.

Google delists fake news sites while Facebook continues to allow such sites to show up in their search results.

Many anti-vaxxers are smart, college-educated people.

89,000 children died of measles last year. (source)

What’s the difference between a “innoculation” and “vaccination”?  For smallpox, innoculation uses smallpox itself. The vaccine originally used the less deadly cowpox and now Vaccinia Virus is used.

The good thing about the measles vaccine is that you can get it at any age. The bad thing about the vaccine is that you need to get a booster two years later to be fully protected, which adults may forget to do.

Facebook's reluctance to shut down the anti vax groups: they represent golden advertising prospects.  They are overwhelmingly young, white, affluent, college-educated mothers with purchasing power.

One of the attributes psychologists have identified in entrepreneurs like Elon Musk is a low rating on the scale for agreeableness (source). What that means is that they are less afraid to disagree with community norms and beliefs.  Most people, regardless of their education, are susceptible to the need to belong: if you don’t follow the group norms, you’re no longer part of the group.

“Weaponized Health Communication: Twitter Bots and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate” ⬇️

The high emotions of the 1800s Anti-Vaccination movement were tied to the word mandatory.