With the advent of the Covid-19 vaccine, anti-vaccine voices get louder, polls proliferate … But the response is there, it is organized, aware of delayed abandonment and less extravagant words.
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They reply to conspiratorial messages on Facebook
“Anti-vaccines began to monopolize social networks long before we realized there was a problem of distrust. So they are one step ahead of everyone,” concluding briefly, Vaxxeuses. Behind this name is a Facebook page followed by over 15,000 people whose philosophy is clearly evident: “Vaccination is the greatest medical breakthrough. It saved millions of lives. Don’t let the lies cast doubt on its benefits. ” Their technique? Tirelessly respond to anti-vaccines in a completely anonymous way – offensive messages have gained an edge over their names – and organized.
“Someone who comes with prejudices about anything has a 9 out of 10 chance of entering underground sites”
With the advent of Covid, “the response begins to co-ordinate,” welcomes Anna *, one of the waxers. “But we don’t have the same visibility as anti-vaccines, and the algorithms aren’t helping us.” For example, someone who has doubts will write [dans un moteur de recherche] + vaccine threat +. And that’s where the algorithms immediately send you to conspiratorial sites! “Someone who comes with prejudices about anything has a 9 out of 10 chance of entering conspiratorial sites,” he adds.
“The goal is to counterbalance”
So how do you fight? “We watch on social networks, we look at everything that is published on vaccines: when the general media talks about it, we try to comment in the comments on the existence of pedagogical sites, we argue … keeping as much peace as possible.” “Often the anti-vaccine appeals to emotions, fear … rather, we try to touch the intellect. But people are used to thinking with their insides. So we try to mix … We realized that comedy worked well for some, rejected for others. Alternately humor, pedagogy, dialogue … “
“The point is not to go and convince the anti-vaccines, because giving up the faith in which they have invested a lot and which determines who they are would be almost impossible”
But why did you create a vaccine backing site to deal with the opponents? “Because we cannot act in their field: when we enter anti-vaccine sites and groups, we wear out quickly,” explains Pierre *. “The point is not to go and persuade the anti-vaccines, because it would be almost impossible to abandon the faith in which they have invested a lot and that determines who they are,” abounds Jérémy Descoux, cardiologist, tens of thousands of subscribers on his YouTube channel and his Twitter account. “The goal is to provide a counterbalance,” adds a doctor whose films have been watched a thousand times. “That people who may doubt – which is justified – have readily available and scientific answers.”
Unequal struggle, recognizes the cardiologist: “It is much easier to use fear and give simplified answers than to explain complex situations. It is difficult to come up with sound speech: we can see it face to face. with simple and populist speeches, he is less sexy, less selling, less extravagant. “
“It is people who die every time we give up these topics”
What does this fight look like outside of social networks? It’s “what works best,” says Jocelyn Raude, a social psychologist at a public health high school, “to train GPs there. In this way, we managed to significantly increase the vaccination coverage. “
Be careful though, because on the Internet, “we can’t convince people who hold a strong anti-vaccine stance. Analyzes show that it is even counterproductive: it strengthens their arguments ”. uncertain “constitute the majority of people skeptical about vaccination” – adds the researcher.
But the tide is rising, fears Dr. Descoux, who sees in his office “people who refuse to take medication, refuse to vaccinate against the flu when they have heart failure, refuse to wear a mask when they are at high risk …”. Want to continue Twitter videos and discussions? “Yes. We have to fight because it affects and poisons our practice. And I don’t want to leave any room for a killer speech. It is people who die every time we give up these topics. ”