An analysis of pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine information on social networks and the internet: Visual and emotional patterns


  • Ubaldo Cuesta-Cambra El profesional de la información
  • Luz Martí­nez-Martí­nez
  • José-Ignacio Niño-González


Palabras clave:

Vaccines, Internet, Social networks, Public health, Anti-vaccines, Anti-vaxxers, Health information, Health communication, Influencers, Eye-tracking, Facial expression, Galvanic skin response, GSR.


The communication of information about vaccines and anti-vaccines is analyzed through the monitoring of issuers, news sites, groups, and messages in social networks. We also investigate the effects of information on people´s attention, emotion, and engagement, which were analyzed using eye tracking, galvanic skin response (GSR) and facial expression methods. Results: the flow of communication was not constant, both in the press and on web sites (376 news in 2015, 74 in 2016, 69 in 2017 and, 268 in 2018); posts were informative and neutral; and 80% came from non-professional sources (only 17% were written by a journalist and 3% by a health specialist). On social networks, anti-vaccine Facebook messages and groups were identified, and a mapping of influencers is presented. Analysis of the temporal evolution (years 2015 to 2018) of communicative flows showed that anti-vaccine posts decreased. Gender differences appeared in the visual exploration of information sources and in the provoked emotion responses (GSR and facial expression). In pro-vaccine pages women looked at the headline first, while men looked at the photograph. Emotional responses and engagement did not show differences between anti-vaccine and pro-vaccine web sites. No differences were found in the emotion provoked (GSR) between both website types: anti-vaccination persuasion occurred via cognitive, not emotional, methods by using heuristics (e.g., conspiracy theories). Emotional responses and engagement did not show differences between pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine web sites.


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Cómo citar

Cuesta-Cambra, U., Martí­nez-Martí­nez, L., & Niño-González, J.-I. (2019). An analysis of pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine information on social networks and the internet: Visual and emotional patterns. Profesional De La información, 28(2).



Artí­culos de investigación / Research articles