The Challenge

As false news is 70% more likely than verified news to receive a retweet, the spread of health misinformation on social media could be having an impact on the decisions people make about how to keep themselves and their families healthy.

19 has shone a torch on the role of social media as an information environment and there is
 more attention than 
ever on the ‘infodemic’ accompanying the pandemic.

Our solution

Healthier Internet – a multilateral effort to make high quality health information easier to find and trust, developed with Wellcome. It’s 
a conscious shift away from
 the narrow fixation on misinformation currently dominating the debate, offering a more positive approach to online information environments.

At you’ll find initiatives happening around the world in an interactive infographic, an open database that anyone can contribute other initiatives to and a report identifying six opportunity areas for organisations to play a role in this emerging field.

Shift are fantastic to work with! I really value that they care about how each project can be impactful – rather than just delivering the outputs. Shift really threw themselves into the research. They are really good at knowing when insight discovery needs to pivot – we started out with a report on misinformation and soon realised that we needed to take a more systemic approach.

Carla Ross, Public Engagement Research & Evidence Lead, Wellcome

What we did

  • Ethnographic research (interviews and digital diaries) into health information on social media from the point of view of parents, using parents with young children who are making a decision on whether or not to vaccinate their children as a case study.
  • Rapid mapping of the current landscape of initiatives tackling health misinformation online, with a focus on vaccine uptake, undertaken using desk research and expert interviews.
  • Built up rich maps showing what was being done by big players, like WHO, innovative or local players, plus activities happening in parallel topic areas such as counter terrorism and climate change.
  • Interrogated gaps in provision, including an opportunity identification workshop with 25 participants including journalists, health psychologists, tech start-ups and science communicators. Using an understanding of Wellcome’s assets, identified specific roles that Wellcome and other organisations could play.





Dr Tom Stafford, Health Psychologist at Sheffield University