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Facebook, Twitter must do more to stop COVID-19 anti-vaxxers, U.S. states say, Telecom News, ET Telecom

By Jonathan Stempel

Attorneys general of 12 US states were charged on Wednesday Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to do too little to prevent people from using their own platforms for disseminating false information that coronavirus vaccines are dangerous.

In a letter to Facebook The CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the attorney general of the Democratic Party said that “anti-waxers”, who have no medical expertise and are often motivated by financial gain, have used the platforms to downplay the dangers of COVID-19 and exaggerate the risks of vaccination.

They called on both companies to impose their own guidelines on the community by removing or marking vaccine misinformation.

The letter states that anti-vaccines control 65% of public anti-vaccine content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and have over 59 million followers on these platforms and Google’s YouTube.

It is also said that some misinformation is directed at blacks and other colored communities where vaccination levels are lagging behind.

“Given the dependence of anti-vaccineers on your platforms, you are uniquely positioned to prevent the spread of misinformation about coronavirus vaccines, which poses a direct threat to the health and safety of millions of Americans in our states and will extend our path to recovery.” “reads the letter.

Facebook spokesman Danny Lever said the company had removed millions of pieces of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation and was trying to combat “vaccine variability” by regularly directing consumers to reliable information from health authorities.

Twitter said it had removed more than 22,400 tweets in connection with its policy on COVID-19 publications, and gave priority to removing content that could harm the “real world.”

The letter was signed Wednesday by attorneys general in Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Zuckerman, Dorsey and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Alphabet Inc., are due to testify Thursday before two subcommittees of the House of Representatives to combat online disinformation.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 124 million people worldwide and caused more than 2.7 million deaths.

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