Schiff asks Google, Twitter to follow Facebook’s example in combating COVID-19 false information


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United States Rep. Adam Schiff has a message for Google and Twitter: It’s time to take an idea from Facebook.

Specifically, the California Democrat and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee corresponded today to Google, Twitter and YouTube asking for that they do more to counter damaging false information associated to the the continuous COVID-19 pandemic. Each platform has actually come to grips with the blood circulation of deceptive or straight-out phony material surrounding the coronavirus.

“Facebook recently announced plans to display messages to any users who have engaged with harmful coronavirus-related misinformation that has since been removed from the platform and connect them with resources from the World Health Organization,” Schiff composed in letters directed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “I urge you to adopt a similar practice for users and others who engage with harmful information on your platform.”

Schiff, who’s formerly slammed Google, Twitter and Facebook for being unprepared to fight false information, goes on to keep in mind that these are tough waters to browse for platforms that pursue open expression.

“I recognize the complex challenges that misinformation presents to online platforms,” Schiff composes. “As we all grapple with this unprecedented health situation, I hope you will consider this suggestion for keeping users better informed.”

The letters mark an unusual minute of appreciation for Facebook from Congress, which has actually had a doubtful relationship with the platform given that the Cambridge Analytica scandal put it at the center of tremendous debate following the 2016 United States governmental election.

Facebook decreased to discuss the letters. Google didn’t reacted to an ask for remark, though a representative for Google-owned YouTube states the platform has actually invested greatly over the last few years in eliminating material that breaks its policies and in improving reliable material.

“Since early February, we’ve removed thousands of videos violating our COVID-19 misinformation policies — such as content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19 as described by local health authorities, or that promotes medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent or cure COVID-19 in place of seeking medical treatment — and have seen over 20 billion impressions on our information panels for COVID-19 related videos and searches,” the representative stated. “Our work is ongoing and we’re committed to providing timely and helpful information during this critical time.”

Wojcicki on Friday likewise tweeted a reaction to Schiff, stating YouTube is working “every day to protect people from misinformation and help them find authoritative information.”

A representative for Twitter stated the business had actually gotten the letter and is “in regular contact with their staff on these and a number of issues.”

In current weeks, Twitter has actually been actively working to eliminate false information that might speed the spread of the coronavirus. Google, on the other hand, vowed $6.5 million towards the battle versus false information.

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