Update (February 24, 2022): I shared this report with Twitter and today it suspended key accounts that participated in this campaign.

About the campaign

An active anti-Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Arabic Twittersphere uses the hashtag #ارفضوا_التلقيح (reject the vaccine). It disseminates mis- and dis-information mostly from Western sources, arguing that vaccine resistance is widespread in the very countries that produce the vaccines and that Western-based ‘scientists’ themselves are against the vaccines.

A social graph for the Arabic anti-Covid-19 Vaxx campaign ‘Reject the Vaxx’ (#ارفضوا_التلقيح).  Click on the graph for the interactive version.

Arabic anti-Covid-19 social graph

Tactics

  • The campaign posts video clips taken from Western sources or social media with Arabic subtitles. The content is often disinformation or repurposed to serve the agenda of the campaign. For example, a tweet posts a video clip taken from a Western media outlet with the Arabic tweet text saying Covid-19 vaccine changes the human DNA and causes immunodeficiency, AIDS, cancer, and strokes.
  • The campaign also disseminates conspiracy theories around the vaccines. For example, a tweet alleges that the Israel Prime Minister had warned that if people don’t get vaccinated that will delay the coming of the Messiah.
  • The campaign posts video clips and photos showing protests in Western countries against mandatory vaccination, arguing that the vaccines are rejected in the very countries that produce them.

Findings

  • The account @go2islam plays a leading role in the campaign.
  • The vast majority of the accounts participating in the campaign mention the account @go2islam and mention the campaign Arabic hashtags in their bios.
  • There is no evidence that a counter-narrative uses the campaign hashtag to engage with the anti-vaxx campaign.
  • Repeated checks of the accounts show that there is no evidence Twitter is suspending any of them.

Sample media disseminated by the campaign:

About the social graph

Algorithm:
Vincent D Blondel, Jean-Loup Guillaume, Renaud Lambiotte, Etienne Lefebvre, Fast unfolding of communities in large networks, in Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment 2008 (10), P1000

Resolution:
R. Lambiotte, J.-C. Delvenne, M. Barahona Laplacian Dynamics and Multiscale Modular Structure in Networks 2009

Layout
Fruchterman Reingold