AIDS denialists and HIV-relevant communities in VKontakte SNS
Project leader: Peter Meylakhs
Project participants: Yury Rykov, Olessia Koltsova
The project was devoted to the representation of HIV/AIDS issue on group pages in the VKontakte SNS, with a focus on AIDS-denialaist movement communities. This movement based in the denial of the existence of HIV or of AIDS, or of their connection presents a serious problem for the public health. Influence of AIDS-denialists leads to refusal of a part of population from testing for HIV and / or from HIV treatment. This contributes to higher mortality from AIDS and HIV-related diseases, and further spread of HIV among the populace. Therefore, an important research goal is to see how AIDS-denialists disseminate their views on the Internet and how they are positioned among other HIV-relevant groups.
1. With qualitative methods, the main rhetoric strategies were revealed that are used by denialists to convince newcomers, including “challengers” and “doubters” who question the non-existence of HIV and who visit the largest AIDS-denialist community in VKontakte.
2. The structure and communicative activity of this largest group was studied with SNA methods, based the analysis of on 13,000 group members, their network of friendship and more than 70,000 items of communication, including posts, comments, and likes. The community was found to consist of several layers of users that differ in their form and intensity of communication, and in their embeddedness in the network of friendship. The core (potential leaders) and the periphery (potential doubters) were revealed.
3. 15 HIV-relevant VKontakte groups that represent topical diversity of this sphere were mapped with SNA methods and through analysis of users’ communicative activity. The revealed online social structures correspond to different social functions of these communities and can be described with a number of network metrics and statistical tests. The research enrichs our knowledge of virtual communities and online social stratification.
Meylakhs P. AIDS-dissidents in the social networking service ‘VKontakte.’ Presentation at the Social Network Analysis Summer School, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, August 2013.
Rykov Y. AIDS Dissident Virtual Community in "VK" SNS: Perspectives for Quantitative Study of Social Structure. International Conference «Social Media and Social Movements». National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia, September 18-19, 2014. http://linisevents.hse.ru/rykov
Rykov Y.,Meylakhs P. Social Space of Online Networked Communities: Mapping AIDS-relevant Groups in «VK» SNS. European Social Networks Conference. Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, July 1-4, 2014.
Meylakhs P. , Rykov Y., Koltsova O., Koltsov S. An AIDS-denialist Online Community in a Russian Social Networking Service: Patterns of Interactions with the Newcomers and Rhetorical Strategies of Persuasion // Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2014. Vol. 16. No. 11. P. e261.
Мейлахс П. А., Рыков Ю. Г. Онлайновое сообщество СПИД-диссидентов в социальной сети "ВКонтакте": структура и риторические стратегии // В кн.: XV Апрельская международная научная конференция по проблемам развития экономики и общества / Отв. ред.: Е. Г. Ясин. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2015. (в печати)
VKMiner – software for downloading VKontakte data.
Have you spotted a typo?
Highlight it, click Ctrl+Enter and send us a message. Thank you for your help!
To be used only for spelling or punctuation mistakes.