It has recently come to light that ‘behavioural scientists’ have been providing advice to the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). UK Column reports that this group, named the ‘Scientific Pandemic Influenza group on Behaviour (SPI-B)’, was (re)convened on February 13, 2020.
One document produced by this group identifies “options for increasing adherence to social distancing measures,” which include persuasion, incentivization and coercion. In the section on persuasion it states that the “perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging.” The document also mentions using “media to increase sense of personal threat.”
And it has also become public knowledge that the 77th Brigade, part of the British military, has been part of the Covid-19 communication strategy. 77th Brigade activities include information warfare and “supporting counter-adversarial information activity,” which includes “creating and disseminating digital and wider media content in support of designated tasks.”“Is public opinion on Covid-19 being shaped by facts – or ‘terrorized’ by propaganda?”