Taking advantage of 3 million English-language posts by Facebook public pages, this study answers the following questions: How did the amount of COVID-19 vaccine-related messages evolve? How did the moral expressions in the messages differ among sources? How did both the sources and the five moral foundations in posts influence the number of likes to posts, after controlling for the public page’s features (e.g., age, followers)? Our research findings suggest that moral expression is prevalent in the COVID-19 vaccination posts, surpassing nonmoral content. Media sources, despite the high volume of posts, on average elicited fewer likes than all other sources. Although care and fairness were the two most used moral foundations, they were negatively related to likes. In contrast, the least used two moral values of authority and sanctity were positively related to likes. We conclude with a discussion of theoretical contributions and a recommendation of possible interventions.
Weiyu Zhang, Rong Wang, Haodong Liu. Moral expressions, sources, and frames: Examining COVID-19 vaccination posts by facebook public pages. Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 138, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2022.107479