The Biden administration is handing out $1 million in grant funding for research into how “vaccine misinformation” found on social media can affect people’s confidence in vaccines.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced the grant opportunity, “Developing a Public Health Tool to Predict the Virality of Vaccine Misinformation Narratives,” on Thursday and will send the funds to a single applicant next year. The awardee will use the funds to develop a forecasting model that aims to identify potential misinformation on vaccines and how it will affect people as it spreads on social media.
“The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity is to support research to develop a predictive forecasting model that identifies new or reemerging misinformation narratives that are likely to disseminate widely and have a high potential for impact on vaccine confidence,” the grant description said. “The information from this model will then be used to develop a tool that public health agencies could use to predict misinformation trends in the populations served.”
“Finally, the researchers will evaluate the tool’s predictive capabilities on both future social media misinformation narratives and real-world events,” it said.
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Eligible applicants include both government and private groups.
The grant runs through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a history of efforts to combat misinformation. Internal documents obtained by American First Legal in July revealed how the CDC coordinated with Facebook, Twitter and Google to counter online content it deemed to be misinformation.
This included regular meetings with the companies and email exchanges of exact social media posts the agency said should be monitored.
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Rep. Chip Roy, R.-Texas, said in response to the grant proposal that it is dangerous for a health agency to focus its resources on combating misinformation.
“This latest revelation proves the CDC is rolling full steam ahead with their censorship campaign against citizens who speak up,” Roy told Fox News Digital. “This new scheme to use taxpayer money – intended to further scientific inquiry – to instead stifle researchers and anyone who dares dissent from the Biden administration’s ever-changing COVID narrative is unsurprising and unacceptable.”
“The CDC has no business trying to predict future ‘thought crimes’ nor, as they’ve done in the past, leverage their power to collude with big tech companies against the American people,” he said.
HHS and CDC did not respond to a request for comment.
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The Department of Homeland Security launched a Disinformation Governance Board this year but canceled it in response to public backlash. The agency also worked with Twitter to develop the project, which included a meeting with the executive who blocked access to the New York Post stories on Hunter Biden’s laptop weeks before the 2020 election.