In the light of the ongoing health pandemic, the professional network, LinkedIn has turned into a hub of anti-vaxers propaganda. To the surprise of those committed to fighting against these speeches, the platform does little or nothing to stop it to this moment.

With quotes from declassified doctors, misunderstood or exaggerated side effect figures, decontextualized shocking photos… Behind its serious facade, LinkedIn, the Internet platform for active professionals looking to “network,” has become a popular playground for anti-vaxers’ misinformation in just one year.

In France, at the end of 2021, Thierry Jacques, a physician-resuscitator committed to the fight against false information, publicly questioned the director of LinkedIn for France, Fabienne Arata: “There is a real problem on LinkedIn related to the dissemination by an increasingly organized and aggressive conspiracy of misinformative posts on Covid, vaccines, etc.” But his letter went unanswered. And ironically, his account was temporarily suspended.

Problematic accounts, long excluded from YouTube or Facebook, thrive on LinkedIn without being worried. Such is the case of the main page of the anti-restriction collective ReinfoCovid which, under the guise of science, defends a vision of society close to the anti-vaccine community.

Like YouTube or Twitter, LinkedIn promotes cognitive bubbles

False information is also shared by a whole community of those who have made alternative medicine and personal development a profession, advocates of a natural immune system, which one would not expect to find on a network with a “business” connotation. These are not very LinkedIn topics, however, this community takes advantage of the platform’s values, the caring and inspiring side, the sharing of quotes on well-being, etc. This helps bring [users] back to magnetism, reiki or other nonsense.

these biased speeches can reach a much wider audience of average Internet users, carried away by their own convictions.

LINKEDIN IS NO LONGER A PROFESSIONAL NETWORK

Several doctors interviewed by the French Le Monde consider the situation untenable. This network has nothing professional about it anymore,” says Thierry Jacques. We now find ourselves with unusual profiles who can’t read studies, yet explain the world to you by calling you “traitors”. For the platform has become the theater of an information war, with over-mobilized militants. “When we give information on vaccines, there is a pack that appears,” despairs Christiane Lobryeau-Desnus, a retired doctor involved in the fight against disinformation.

These practices are more reminiscent of the bellicose climate of Twitter than the muted atmosphere of LinkedIn, with more and more anonymous accounts and intimidation. “It’s a lawless zone, and it’s very worrying,” warns Bernard Panza, a former member of a committee for the protection of individuals, a structure that oversees therapeutic trials.


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