Senators look to hold Facebook, YouTube accountable for health misinformation – CNET
Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico introduced legislation on Thursday that looks to hold social media companies like Facebook and YouTube accountable for the dissemination of health-related misinformation on their platforms during public health emergencies. That includes inaccurate statements about vaccines, as well as other false health-related claims.
The Health Misinformation Act looks to create an exception for Section 230, a provision in the Communications Decency Act that gives legal protections to social media companies, shielding them from liability for content users post. The bill would remove that liability shield for platforms whose algorithms promote health misinformation related to a current public health emergency, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
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“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube did little while COVID-19 related misinformation spread on their platforms – fueling distrust in public health officials, promoting conspiracy theories, and putting lives at risk,” Sen. Luján said in a statement. “As COVID-19 cases rise among the unvaccinated, so has the amount of misinformation surrounding vaccines on social media. Lives are at stake.”
Sen. Klobuchar added: “Earlier this year, I called on Facebook and Twitter to remove accounts that are responsible for producing the majority of misinformation about the coronavirus, but we need a long term solution. This legislation will hold online platforms accountable for the spread of health-related misinformation. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how lethal misinformation can be and it is our responsibility to take action.”
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July 22, 2021 at 03:00PM