This study investigated the efficacy of narratives in countering vaccine-related narrative misinformation on Facebook. Two narrative counter strategies to address misinformation about the safety of the MMR vaccine (i.e., personal stories of uneventful vaccinations where a parent talks about how their child was vaccinated and no injury happened to them, and narratives of anti-vax to pro-vax conversions, where a former anti-vaccine parent narrates their experience of their child getting sick with a vaccine-preventable disease and thus realizing the importance of vaccines) were compared to a non-narrative counter message (an infographic, in the case of the present study) in increasing belief in the counter, reducing vaccine misinformation, and increasing MMR vaccination intentions. Second, we tested a theoretically grounded model predicting MMR vaccination intentions and misinformation amplification likelihood, combining pre-existing issue-specific situational motivation in problem solving with perceived counter and misinformation source credibility and message effects. Implications for public relations theory are discussed.
Publication: Public Relations Review