"COVID-19 vaccine disinformation on YouTube: analysis of a viewing network". Communication & Society, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 223-238

Bibliographic reference 

Calvo, D., Cano-Orón, L. & Llorca-Abad, G. (2022). COVID-19 vaccine disinformation on YouTube: analysis of a viewing network.Communication & Society, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 223-238. DOI

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COVID-19 has generated a social crisis that has required the production of vast amounts of information of various types, including medical. In this scenario, hoaxes and fake news about health issues have also increased, encouraging disobedience of lockdown restrictions and opposition to vaccination against the disease. At the same time, because of their structure and functioning, social media networks have facilitated the production and distribution of such false information. YouTube has also been identified as a source of medical information including COVID-19 hoaxes. This research focusses on an analysis of a video viewing network on YouTube to trace the connection between various videos recommended on the platform and determine the content of the videos that compose that network. To achieve this, we carry out a content analysis supported by specialised software to extract and analyse the videos. The results reveal a limited network of videos about COVID-19, strongly related to each other. Its amateur aesthetic stands out, as well as the frequent appearance of certain personalities who, as opinion leaders in a scenario of the delegitimization of traditional institutions, become catalysts for hoaxes and fake news that call for civil disobedience and, sometimes, show links with the extreme right.


Social media, hoaxes, fake news, coronavirus, health, vaccination.