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  1. Jan 2023
    1. Indeed ‘anti-vaccination rumours’ have been defined as a major threat to achieving vaccine coverage goals. This is demonstrated in this paper through a case study of responses to the Global Polio Eradication Campaign (GPEI) in northern Nigeria where Muslim leaders ordered the boycott of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). A 16-month controversy resulted from their allegations that the vaccines were contaminated with anti-fertility substances and the HIV virus was a plot by Western governments to reduce Muslim populations worldwide.
  2. Dec 2022
    1. In 1988, when polio was endemic in 125 countries, the annual assembly of national health ministers, meeting in Geneva, declared their intent to eradicate polio by 2000. That target was missed, but a $3 billion campaign had it contained in six countries by early 2003.
    1. The five Cs model

      The five Cs model of vaccine acceptance is based on five factors that can affect an individual's vaccination behaviour: confidence, constraints, complacency, calculation, and collective responsibility.

    1. We analyzed URLs cited in Twitter messages before and after the temporary interruption of the vaccine development on September 9, 2020 to investigate the presence of low credibility and malicious information. We show that the halt of the AstraZeneca clinical trials prompted tweets that cast doubt, fear and vaccine opposition. We discovered a strong presence of URLs from low credibility or malicious websites, as classified by independent fact-checking organizations or identified by web hosting infrastructure features. Moreover, we identified what appears to be coordinated operations to artificially promote some of these URLs hosted on malicious websites.
    1. When public health emergencies break out, social bots are often seen as the disseminator of misleading information and the instigator of public sentiment (Broniatowski et al., 2018; Shi et al., 2020). Given this research status, this study attempts to explore how social bots influence information diffusion and emotional contagion in social networks.
    1. . Furthermore, our results add to the growing body of literature documenting—at least at this historical moment—the link between extreme right-wing ideology and misinformation8,14,24 (although, of course, factors other than ideology are also associated with misinformation sharing, such as polarization25 and inattention17,37).

      Misinformation exposure and extreme right-wing ideology appear associated in this report. Others find that it is partisanship that predicts susceptibility.

    2. And finally, at the individual level, we found that estimated ideological extremity was more strongly associated with following elites who made more false or inaccurate statements among users estimated to be conservatives compared to users estimated to be liberals. These results on political asymmetries are aligned with prior work on news-based misinformation sharing

      This suggests the misinformation sharing elites may influence whether followers become more extreme. There is little incentive not to stoke outrage as it improves engagement.

    1. Exposure to elite misinformation is associated with sharing news from lower-quality outlets and with conservative estimated ideology.

      Shown is the relationship between users’ misinformation-exposure scores and (a) the quality of the news outlets they shared content from, as rated by professional fact-checkers21, (b) the quality of the news outlets they shared content from, as rated by layperson crowds21, and (c) estimated political ideology, based on the ideology of the accounts they follow10. Small dots in the background show individual observations; large dots show the average value across bins of size 0.1, with size of dots proportional to the number of observations in each bin.

    1. We find that, during the pandemic, no-vax communities became more central in the country-specificdebates and their cross-border connections strengthened, revealing a global Twitter anti-vaccinationnetwork. U.S. users are central in this network, while Russian users also become net exporters ofmisinformation during vaccination roll-out. Interestingly, we find that Twitter’s content moderationefforts, and in particular the suspension of users following the January 6th U.S. Capitol attack, had aworldwide impact in reducing misinformation spread about vaccines. These findings may help publichealth institutions and social media platforms to mitigate the spread of health-related, low-credibleinformation by revealing vulnerable online communities
    1. We applied two scenarios to compare how these regular agents behave in the Twitter network, with and without malicious agents, to study how much influence malicious agents have on the general susceptibility of the regular users. To achieve this, we implemented a belief value system to measure how impressionable an agent is when encountering misinformation and how its behavior gets affected. The results indicated similar outcomes in the two scenarios as the affected belief value changed for these regular agents, exhibiting belief in the misinformation. Although the change in belief value occurred slowly, it had a profound effect when the malicious agents were present, as many more regular agents started believing in misinformation.

    1. Therefore, although the social bot individual is “small”, it has become a “super spreader” with strategic significance. As an intelligent communication subject in the social platform, it conspired with the discourse framework in the mainstream media to form a hybrid strategy of public opinion manipulation.
    2. we found that social bots played a bridge role in diffusion in the apparent directional topic like “Wuhan Lab”. Previous research also found that social bots play some intermediary roles between elites and everyday users regarding information flow [43]. In addition, verified Twitter accounts continue to be very influential and receive more retweets, whereas social bots retweet more tweets from other users. Studies have found that verified media accounts remain more central to disseminating information during controversial political events [75]. However, occasionally, even the verified accounts—including those of well-known public figures and elected officials—sent misleading tweets. This inspired us to investigate the validity of tweets from verified accounts in subsequent research. It is also essential to rely solely on science and evidence-based conclusions and avoid opinion-based narratives in a time of geopolitical conflict marked by hidden agendas, disinformation, and manipulation [76].
    3. There were 120,118 epidemy-related tweets in this study, and 34,935 Twitter accounts were detected as bot accounts by Botometer, accounting for 29%. In all, 82,688 Twitter accounts were human, accounting for 69%; 2495 accounts had no bot score detected.In social network analysis, degree centrality is an index to judge the importance of nodes in the network. The nodes in the social network graph represent users, and the edges between nodes represent the connections between users. Based on the network structure graph, we may determine which members of a group are more influential than others. In 1979, American professor Linton C. Freeman published an article titled “Centrality in social networks conceptual clarification“, on Social Networks, formally proposing the concept of degree centrality [69]. Degree centrality denotes the number of times a central node is retweeted by other nodes (or other indicators, only retweeted are involved in this study). Specifically, the higher the degree centrality is, the more influence a node has in its network. The measure of degree centrality includes in-degree and out-degree. Betweenness centrality is an index that describes the importance of a node by the number of shortest paths through it. Nodes with high betweenness centrality are in the “structural hole” position in the network [69]. This kind of account connects the group network lacking communication and can expand the dialogue space of different people. American sociologist Ronald S. Bert put forward the theory of a “structural hole” and said that if there is no direct connection between the other actors connected by an actor in the network, then the actor occupies the “structural hole” position and can obtain social capital through “intermediary opportunities”, thus having more advantages.
    4. We analyzed and visualized Twitter data during the prevalence of the Wuhan lab leak theory and discovered that 29% of the accounts participating in the discussion were social bots. We found evidence that social bots play an essential mediating role in communication networks. Although human accounts have a more direct influence on the information diffusion network, social bots have a more indirect influence. Unverified social bot accounts retweet more, and through multiple levels of diffusion, humans are vulnerable to messages manipulated by bots, driving the spread of unverified messages across social media. These findings show that limiting the use of social bots might be an effective method to minimize the spread of conspiracy theories and hate speech online.
  3. Aug 2022
  4. Jul 2022
    1. We don’t expect National Defence or health care to promote growth: we just accept that territorial integrity and a healthy populace are good things.

      Been making that point about health (especially since, like education, it's a provincial jurisdiction). It's easy to think of perverse incentives if a profit motive dominates education and health. Physicians would want people to remain sick and teachers would prefer it if learners required more assistance.

      Hadn't thought enough about the DND part. Sure gives me pause, given the amounts involved. Or the fact that there's a whole lot of profit made in that domain.

      So, businesspeople are quick to talk about "cost centres". Some of them realize that those matter a whole lot.

  5. Jun 2022
    1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-complicated-legacy-of-e-o-wilson/

      I can see why there's so much backlash on this piece.

      It could and should easily have been written without any reference at all to E. O. Wilson and been broadly interesting and true. However given the editorial headline "The Complicated Legacy of E. O. Wilson", the recency of his death, and the photo at the top, it becomes clickbait for something wholly other.

      There is only passing reference to Wilson and any of his work and no citations whatsoever about who he was or why his work was supposedly controversial. Instead the author leans in on the the idea of the biology being the problem instead of the application of biology to early anthropology which dramatically mis-read the biology and misapplied it for the past century and a half to bolster racist ideas and policies.

      The author indicates that we should be better with "citational practices when using or reporting on problematic work", but wholly forgets to apply it to her own writing in this very piece.

      I'm aware that the magazine editors are most likely the ones that chose the headline and the accompanying photo, but there's a failure here in both editorial and writing for this piece to have appeared in Scientific American in a way as to make it more of a hit piece on Wilson just days after his death. Worse, the backlash of the broadly unsupported criticism of Wilson totally washed out the attention that should have been placed on the meat of the actual argument in the final paragraphs.

      Editorial failed massively on all fronts here.


      This article seems to be a clear example of the following:

      Any time one uses the word "problematic" to describe cultural issues, it can't stand alone without some significant context building and clear arguments about exactly what was problematic and precisely why. Otherwise the exercise is a lot of handwaving and puffery that does neither side of an argument or its intended audiences any good.

  6. May 2022
    1. Blog Tucker Carlson: Biden Giving WHO Power to 'Deploy Proactive Countermeasures Against Misinformation and Social Media Attacks' By Craig Bannister | May 20, 2022 | 10:39am EDT Tucker Carlson (Screenshot) Pres. Biden has found a new way to censor free speech – by giving the World Health Organization (WHO) control of Americans’ speech – Fox News Host Tucker Carlson warned on Thursday. After dissolving his “Disinformation Governance Board, due to public outcry, Biden is preparing to sign WHO’s new World Pandemic Treaty, giving a global operational control and power – through ‘proactive countermeasures’ - to combat what it deems “disinformation,“ Carlson explained, citing a WHO working group's draft text:#stickypbModal625{ position : relative; z-index : 30; margin:0px px; padding: 9px; background: rgba(0,0,0,0.0);} @media only screen and (max-width: 1024px) {#stickypbModal625 { flex-wrap: wrap;}} googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("div-hre-CNS-News-625"); }); “So, what would this ‘operational control’ mean? “Let’s be specific. Right off the bat, the treaty demands ‘National and global coordinated actions to address the misinformation, disinformation, and stigmatization that undermines public health.’ “Oh! Here we go! Right to censorship: ‘People are criticizing us, and for public health reasons, that can't be allowed. If you criticize us, people will die.’  “So, you saw yesterday that the Biden administration, in the face of universal laughter and derision, had to fire the head of its new Ministry of Truth - but they found another way to do it: ‘W.H.O. Secretariat to build capacity to deploy proactive countermeasures against misinformation and social media attacks.’” “So, they are going to get to censor anybody who doesn't agree with what they do, as they control the intimate details of your life,” Carlson explained: “And they will control those details. Under this treaty, the World Health Organization will get to establish vaccine passports and regulate travel. World Health organization will ‘Develop standards for producing a digital version of the international certificate of vaccination and prophylactics.’  “Okay.  “So you may think, ‘Well, it is just about COVID and I went along with mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports at the time, how bad could it be?’ [Laughs] First of all, if you went along with that, you should be repenting right about now. But, it is not just about COVID because the W.H.O. Will be in charge of ‘The digitalization of all health forms.’ The World Health Organization will also ‘Share real-time information about travel measures.’  “So you are going to find out exactly when you are allowed to get on a bus or train or airplane, or how about your bicycle, will they regulate that too? Maybe. Now the World Health Organization has sought this authority for years. Of course. Who doesn't want more power?” Carlson then played a foreboding comment by W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu. “Here’s Tedros back in April of 2020: “People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end. But the world will not and cannot go back to the way things were. There must be a new normal. A world that is healthier, safer, and better prepared.” Americans should question relinquishing control over their lives to an unelected person and global authority they had no say in choosing, Carlson said:#stickypbModal711{ position : relative; z-index : 30; margin:0px px; padding: 9px; background: rgba(0,0,0,0.0);} @media only screen and (max-width: 1024px) {#stickypbModal711 { flex-wrap: wrap;}} googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("div-hre-CNS-News-711"); }); “Okay, so there’s a guy with a long and documented history of subverting public health, who is clearly a liar, who is acting as an agent for the Chinese government, and you have to ask yourself, ‘Did I vote for that guy? Is he one of my elected representatives in this democracy? How did he get power over where I can travel and when?’ “Good question.”

      Summary of Tucker's televised evening talk show.

    1. the underprivileged are priced out of the dental-treatment system yet perversely held responsible for their dental condition.

      How does this happen?

      Is it the idea of "personal responsibility" and "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" philosophy combined with lack of any actual support and/or education?

      There has to be a better phrase or word to define the perverse sort of philosophy espoused by many in the Republican party about this sort of "personal responsibility".

      It feels somewhat akin to the idea of privatize profits and socialize the losses. The social loss is definitely one that is pushed off onto the individual, but who's profiting? Is it really so expensive to fix this problem? Isn't the loss to society and public health akin to the Million Dollar Murray problem?

      Wouldn't each individual's responsibility be better tied to the collective good as well as their own outcomes? How can the two be bound together to improve outcomes for everyone all around?

  7. Apr 2022
    1. ReconfigBehSci [@SciBeh]. (2021, December 6). I do not understand the continued narrative that makes it sound as if extant legal systems don’t already provide the framework for assessing whether rights are unduly infringed by vaxx passports and mandates. This is exactly what constitutions are for. [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1467818167766593538

    1. Allyson Pollock [@AllysonPollock]. (2022, January 4). The health care crisis is of governments making over three decades. Closing half general and acute beds, closing acute hospitals and community services,eviscerating public health, no service planning. Plus unevidenced policies on testing and self isolation of contacts. @dthroat [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/AllysonPollock/status/1478326352516460544

    1. Eric Feigl-Ding [@DrEricDing]. (2021, November 12). 💡BEST. VIDEO. ALL. YEAR. Please share with friends how the mRNA vaccine works to fight the coronavirus. 📌NOTA BENE—The mRNA never interacts with your DNA 🧬. #vaccinate (Special thanks to the Vaccine Makers Project @vaccinemakers of @ChildrensPhila). #COVID19 https://t.co/CrSGGo6tqq [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1459284608122564610

    1. Dr Nisreen Alwan 🌻. (2020, March 14). Our letter in the Times. ‘We request that the government urgently and openly share the scientific evidence, data and modelling it is using to inform its decision on the #Covid_19 public health interventions’ @richardhorton1 @miriamorcutt @devisridhar @drannewilson @PWGTennant https://t.co/YZamKCheXH [Tweet]. @Dr2NisreenAlwan. https://twitter.com/Dr2NisreenAlwan/status/1238726765469749248

    1. ECDC. (2021, March 8). We have cross-checked all the latest research on #FaceMasks use during the pandemic. Our position has not changed. Wear it to help slow down the spread of #COVID19! Combine it with #HandHygiene, #CoughEtiquette & #PhysicalDistancing. Be smart. Stay safe. Care about others. Https://t.co/t4AZcJVzld [Tweet]. @ECDC_EU. https://twitter.com/ECDC_EU/status/1368989564321341444

    1. Marc Lipsitch. (2021, July 20). At the risk of boiling down too much and certainly losing some detail, one way to summarize this wonderful thread is that when we think about vaccine effectiveness, we should think of 4 key variables: 1 which vaccine, 2 age of the person, 3 how long after vax, 4 vs what outcome. [Tweet]. @mlipsitch. https://twitter.com/mlipsitch/status/1417595538632060931

    1. Prof. Christina Pagel 🇺🇦. (2021, November 25). THREAD on the new variant B.1.1.529 summarising what is known from the excellent South African Ministry of Health meeting earlier today TLDR: So much uncertain but what is known is extremely worrying & (in my opinion) we should revise red list immediately. This is why: 1/16 [Tweet]. @chrischirp. https://twitter.com/chrischirp/status/1463885539619311616

    1. Neuropsychiatrists at UCLA had found a willing partner in Governor Reagan’s California Department of Justice, to the tune of $750,000 (equivalent to roughly $4.5 million today), and a whopping $1.5 million from the state. It was prominently affiliated with researchers like Vernon Mark and Frank Ervin, who had gained scientific fame for their work creating brain implants in human patients to change behavior and motivation; also on board was former LAPD police chief James Fiske, a man known for terrorizing the city’s Black population.

      It looks like Ronald Reagan had issues with mental health care even as far back as the 1970s. This incident at UCLA was just a precursor to defunding state mental health care that was already apparently having issues at the time.

  8. Mar 2022
    1. Kyle Sheldrick. (2022, February 21). This is probably the worst covid research I have read, and I helped expose a fraudulent study that was just the same patient copied-and pasted over and over again, and another which enrolled dead people. This is far more damaging to public health. 1/12 [Tweet]. @K_Sheldrick. https://twitter.com/K_Sheldrick/status/1495687486341017601

  9. Feb 2022
    1. Eric Feigl-Ding. (2022, January 17). Pandemic leadership matters. #COVID19 mortality per capita by state. 📍Public health is policy, policy is politics. 📍Human behavior is often driven by misinformation. 📍Misinformation is often driven by politics. 📍Politics can be changed by voting—Unless voters can’t. Https://t.co/pFkndQZrfr [Tweet]. @DrEricDing. https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1483181226815012867

    1. ReconfigBehSci. (2022, January 14). man who contracted potentially disease and then violated public health orders tries to cross borders by providing incorrect info on key docs = just fine is not something I foresaw from this corner... Once consistency is thrown out as a standard, rational debate is impossible... [Tweet]. @SciBeh. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1481929150042619908