Publication – Health Misinformation and the Power of Narrative Messaging in the Public Sphere

A year ago, I was asked to participate in a workshop led by Timothy Caulfield on implicit hype and the various forces that distort good, early science in the eyes of the public.

This led to an article, which was just published in the Canadian Journal of Bioethics. Some choice quotes:

“Social media platforms have become powerful tools for sharing narratives about therapies [70], experiences [71] and emerging science.”

“Science hype can cause a range of social issues, including, inter alia, eroding public trust [83], confusing policy debates [35], and facilitating the premature implementation of technologies and the marketing of unproven therapies [85,86]. While the problems with explicit hype are increasingly recognized, we are now seeing the growth of a more subtle form of hype.”

“Science communication is happening in the context of a research translation process prone to hype [2], a media environment rife with ambiguity and false balance [106-108], and an online environment marred by inaccurate news [52,53].”

We talk about these things a lot in our scicomm efforts and on Twitter, but it’s great that we can foster the discussion within academic circles as well.

Some recommendations coming out of the paper:

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You can read the full article for free here:

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