The Effects of an Informational Intervention on Attention to Anti-Vaccination Content on YouTube
The spread of misinformation related to health, especially vaccination, is a potential contributor to myriad public health problems. This misinformation is frequently spread through social media. Recently, social media companies have intervened in the dissemination of misinformation regarding vaccinations. In the current study we focus on YouTube. Recognizing the extent of the problem, YouTube implemented an informational modification that affected many videos related to vaccination beginning in February 2019. We collect original data and analyze the effects of this intervention on video viewership. We find that this informational intervention reduced traffic to the affected videos, both overall, and in comparison to a carefully-matched set of control videos that did not receive the informational modification.