Rumor Communities: The Social Dimensions of Internet Political Misperceptions
"Many of the vaccines-cause-autism rumor community’s comments express widely shared political stances and social values such as
distrust of big business, government, and news media.
They also express
solidarity with respected social groups, parents, and the autism community...
the essential appeal of many conspiracy theories is that they speak to deep-rooted beliefs about how the social world works.
The more effectively they embrace those beliefs, the greater their likely staying power
and the greater the risk they will not only survive but potentially spread to broader publics."