The day before Facebook and Twitter CEOs are scheduled to testify before Congress on their platform's hosting of disinformation, a dozen attorney generals have called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to do more to combat anti-vaxxer COVID-19 disinformation, signaling it is a matter of life and death.
Both platforms have policies against spreading vaccine misinformation, but the AGs, in a letter to both CEOs, said their respective companies had not done enough to identify that misinformation and remove it or labeling it the first time and banning "repeat offenders."
"Twitter and Facebook have yet to remove from all their platforms the accounts of prominent “anti-vaxxers” who have repeatedly violated the companies’ terms of service," they wrote. "Digital media research groups estimate that as of March 10, 12 'anti-vaxxers’ personal accounts and their associated organizations, groups and websites are responsible for 65% of public anti-vaccine content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter."
They called on Zuckerberg and Dorsey to immediately enforce their guidelines by rooting out "fraudulent" information and in the process, "prevent needless illness and death."
The two CEOs, joined by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, are scheduled to testify at a March 25 hearing on "Misinformation and Disinformation Plaguing Online Platforms."
House Democrats have long complained that those platforms have not done enough to weed out dangerous speech.
Signing on to the letter were AGS from Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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