Oversite Canada is a direct and instinctive response to the problem of “fake news” – the deliberate spread of incorrect, exaggerated and manipulative information.
The ongoing debacle that was the American Presidential Election of 2016 was a heads up to every free country … there are many ways to harm a country without using your military. False, misleading and incendiary information, repeated variably at a very high rate, seeded into the mainstream through social media, websites and podcasts actually altered the course of an election in the world’s most powerful country.
That must not happen in Canada. And since we can’t shut off the internet, police the free press or restrict the right of free speech, we must simply watch everything, review everything and alert everyone to the falsehoods, manipulations and exaggerations. We must find the patterns before they embed themselves and take it upon ourselves to be a neutral, transparent layer of “litmus test” between the Free Press and the people and the Government and the people.
We must make sure the people we have elected or those which want us to elect them are telling us the truth without spin. We must make sure that what other people are telling us about our government, our public servants and our society is true and accurate and without agenda.
A general overview
There are lots of places to check facts in big issues and big stories. There are lots of details about small things in the aether. But there is no one place you can go and find out what lies or truths all of them are spinning. Oversite Canada is party neutral. We call all the lies. Expose all the unsavory manipulative practices of the people who tell us things.
By using an extensive network of local, regional, provincial and national volunteers, we track what’s going on at all levels. We follow twitter feeds and facebook pages. We register for email newsletters and make regular rounds of all the website, blogs and news outlets. We listen to the radio, watch the news, attend speeches, events, fundraisers and rallies, sign up for updates … and so on.
Specific things we do
- We perform reviews/oversite on all publishing/disseminating entites which deal with Canadian politics – Facebook Pages, Twitter Feeds, Websites, Blogs, News Organizations
- We perform reviews/oversite on individual publications of the above entites
- We perform reviews/oversite on public statements made by government officials, politicians and politician candidates
- We publish original contracted content (articles)
- We publish original user submitted content (photographs, opinions, conversations, stories, etc.). We run contests for submissions.
- We publish a special “tools” section to help people review the news critically
- We share information from other sites or books or magazines which might be of interest to Canadians
- We publish polls and surveys on Canadian civil issues
- To engage the Canadian public with the socio-political scene in Canada so they are less likely to be misled by false information.
- To actively engage with Canadians to ensure that they are able to make informed, rational and reality-based decisions when they vote without attempting to make them vote any particular way.
- To curtail the ability of publishers and people to skew or alter the truth by way of direct publishing and communication on social media, websites and a multitude of other platforms. Concentrated, consistent, neutral and expected oversight will keep most people on the right side of the line if they know everything they put out there is being scrutinized. (Part of our current problem is a deepening segregation, clustering and isolation of ideological groups where information is shared repeatedly without any public scrutiny or oversight. Unscrupulous and ambitious people can very easily engage in manipulation when direct, mass, semi-private communication is instantly possible and alterable. As they say, democracy dies in darkness. Our current situation might best be described as “high speed darkness”.)
- To provide a completely neutrally-biased aggregator of useful information and oversight. (By neutrally biased I mean that we will offer a platform for voices of all opinion and bias and will not favour any one over the other. Articles will be carefully managed and, where applicable, will be of the “he says, she says, it says” style where opinions from each general section of the ideological spectrum are equally represented by multiple writers.
- To provide enough fun, entertaining, interesting and informative material to marginalize “fake news” and manipulative communication strategies
Things I would like to do some day
- by way of polls, surveys, open letters, debates and comments – arrange for information exchanges with government and politicians. Say, for example, a growing interest in Child Tax Credit popped up. Noticing this interest trend, we would request a position statement from each party or conduct a small email interview
- a relationship with the parties whereby they assigned a representative to keep us updated with specific information and made themselves available for Facebook live feed events and town hall events, etc.