Health Wars and Beyond: The Rapidly Expanding and Efficient Network Insurgency Interlinking Local and Global Online Crowds of Distrust


We present preliminary results on the online war surrounding distrust of expertise in medical science – specifically, the issue of vaccinations. While distrust and misinformation in politics can damage democratic elections, in the medical context it may also endanger lives through missed vaccinations and DIY cancer cures. We find that this online health war has evolved into a highly efficient network insurgency with direct inter-crowd links across countries, continents and cultures. The online anti-vax crowds (referred to as Red) now appear better positioned to groom new recruits (Green) than those supporting established expertise (Blue). We also present preliminary results from a mathematically-grounded, crowd-based analysis of the war’s evolution, which offers an explanation for how Red seems to be turning the tide on Blue.