October 22, 2021 | Washington Post

Climate of distrust pushes many in the wellness community to turn to misinformation sources

Misinformation within the wellness community is tailored to specific interests and vulnerabilities and often rely on “prettifying” message delivery with inspirational imagery, or “ambiguous language of personal choice and self-realization that is characteristic of these communities,” Cécile Simmons says to the Washington Post in a recent article about vaccine misinformation. By playing on emotional and psychological foundations, and pre-existing doubts based on legitimate concerns, misinformation messages have a unique way of spreading within these groups. It is therefore important to identify these strategies in order to help “social media users develop resilience to harmful content” and allow “them to report this type of content to platforms,” she says.

Cécile Simmons is a Research Manager at ISD, working within the digital research and policy team. You can find a range of her work in our publications section.