PHAC Supporting “Science Up First”, Online Counter-Misinformation Group

Hey there. Ever get the feeling that the Government may be behind a lot of the propaganda that is going on? Well, there may be something to that. Meet the group Science Up First.

  1. Blast the media with our own narrative
  2. Eliminate information that contradicts our narrative

WHY #SCIENCEUPFIRST?
The goal of #ScienceUpFirst is to get people to consider the available science first before sharing content online.
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We understand that in the age of social media there is a growing need for science-informed content. We hope to inspire people to amplify the distribution of expert-written and reviewed content and to help stop the spread of COVID-19 related misinformation throughout the internet.
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#ScienceUpFirst is both good practice and a call to action!
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to Health information and governments’ response to the outbreak. The WHO has classified this as a global infodemic. According to experts conspiracy, misinformation and conspiracy theories are rapidly spreading on social media and represent a threat to the Health and Safety of Canadians.
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As a result, there is an identified need for national cooperation and mobilization of independent scientists, researchers, information experts, health care providers and science communicators to come together to collaboratively create and disseminate quality health-related information available to the public.

In other words, we don’t need people fact checking and reviewing our work. We need people to uncritically amplify it on their social media. Now, who runs the show?

STEERING COMMITTEE

  • Carrie Bourassa: Professor in the Department of Community Health & Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and the Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health
  • Marie-Eve Carignan: Associate Professor at the Department of Communication of the University of Sherbrooke and Head of Media Division, UNESCO Chair in Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism (UNESCO-PREV Chair)
  • Timothy Caulfield: Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Univ. Alberta
  • Imogen Coe: Professor, Chemistry & Biology, Faculty of Science; Dimensions Chair Member, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST) at Ryerson University & St. Michael’s Hospital; President, Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences 2020-2022
  • Amber Mac (MacArthur): President, AmberMac Media Inc.
  • Marianne Mader : Executive Director, Canadian Association of Science Centers
  • Anthony Morgan: Founder, Science Everywhere; Science Communicator
  • Tara Moriarty: Associate Professor, University of Toronto (Infectious Disease research); Co-lead: COVID-19 Resources Canada; Executive team member: CanCOVID; Diagnostics Pillar lead, Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network
  • David M. Patrick: Director of Research and Medical Epidemiology Lead for AMR, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control; Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health
  • Krishana Sankar: Biological Scientist; COVID-19 Resources Canada Science Communication Lead and Volunteer Programs Director
  • Joe Schwarcz: Director, McGill Office for Science and Society
  • Marva Sweeney-Nixon: Professor and Chair, Department of Biology; Faculty of Science, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Fatima Tokhmafshan: Geneticist, Bioethicist, Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre, COVID-19 Resources Canada Science Communication Lead, Canadian Science Policy Centre Social Media Chair
  • Samantha Yammine: Director, Science Sam Media

#ScienceUpFirst Coalition

  • Lisa Barrett: Assistant professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University
  • Chantal Barriault: Director, Science Communication Graduate Program, School of the Environment, Laurentian University
  • Tyler Black: Clinical Assistant Professor, University of BC
  • Isaac Bogoch: Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto; Infectious disease specialist; Clinician Investigator, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute
  • Colette Brin: Professor at Université Laval’s Département d’information et de communication and the Director of the Centre d’études sur les médias
  • Tania Bubela: Professor and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Tracy Calogheros: CEO, Exploration Place Museum & Science Centre, BC
  • Christine Chambers: Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Children’s Pain and Killam Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience; Scientific Director, CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health
  • Naheed Dosani: Palliative Care Physician & Health Justice Activist
  • Kathryn Hill: Executive Director, MediaSmarts
  • Jonathan Jarry: Science Communicator, McGill Office for Science and Society
  • Eoghan Moriarty: Solutions Architect, LabCrunch
  • Alex Munter: CEO, CHEO
  • Ubaka Ogbogu: Assistant Professor, Faculties of Law and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Law Centre, University of Alberta
  • Jonathan N. Stea: Clinical Psychologist, Adjunct Assistant Professor University of Calgary
  • Heidi Tworek: Associate Prof, Public Policy & History, UBC

Interesting, how the bulk of these people are university professors. Is their funding in any way tied to the efforts they make? Now, Science Up First does provide, in broad strokes, the method of how they go about doing this:

(1) Provide science from trusted and credible sources, particularly those that note the scientific consensus on the relevant topic.
(2) Highlight rhetorical and logic gaps used to push misinformation (e.g., relying on anecdotes & testimonials, misrepresenting risk).
(3) Use (and create) clear and shareable content that is relevant to a range of audiences (meeting people where they are and considering unique concerns, etc.).
(4) Emphasize content that is respectful, inclusive, authentic, accessible, and kind in tone.
(5) Aim for creative and engaging content that highlights the facts.
(6) Emphasize inclusive messaging for a general audience and/or tailored to meet needs of specific communities

Of course, they’ll never directly address serious issues such as vaccine manufacturers being indemnified, or their products receiving “interim authorization” instead of approval. They won’t address the mass censorship on Facebook and Twitter of conflicting information.

That said, if you are willing to uncritically signal boost the (ever changing) narrative, then Science Up First may be an option for you.

For a specific example, the issue of heart problems is discussed on the Twitter account. It’s too big to simply ignore altogether, so the people posting try to let you know how rare it is. Now, some may find it unsettling to post information randomly telling people to ignore such concerns. However, that is the state of “science” these days.

(1) https://www.scienceupfirst.com/
(2) https://www.scienceupfirst.com/en/who
(3) https://www.scienceupfirst.com/en/why
(4) https://www.scienceupfirst.com/en/how#guidelines
(5) https://twitter.com/scienceupfirst
(6) https://twitter.com/ScienceUpFirst/status/1405972418812841991
(7) https://www.instagram.com/scienceupfirst/
(8) https://www.facebook.com/Science-Up-First-104308078247296

2 Replies to “PHAC Supporting “Science Up First”, Online Counter-Misinformation Group”

  1. Even towns in Northern Ontario are putting out propaganda re: heart problems and the jabs. https://www.porcupinehu.on.ca/en/audiences/news-media/mediareleases/reports-of-myocarditis-and-pericarditis-after-mrna-vaccines-being-monitored/?s=07&fbclid=IwAR0JhRVX3WGCALmcqUp9ehVeOlKCNdLIeVm10EUGH_rC2eL7ZKuOk8EyXnQ

    Of course if 1 in 10,000 people DIE of so called COVID, they would lockdown the Province, however if 1 in 10,000 people DIE as a direct result of heart /blood clot from the jab, well it doesn’t seem to matter, when in fact they should be shutting down the program completely.