US asks Facebook, Amazon to detail efforts taken to curb COVID vaccine misinformation

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US Democratic Representative Adam Schiff

Misbah Ali

While expressing concern on the current COVID-19 scenario in the United States, the US Democratic Representative Adam Schiff on September 9, 2021 called on Facebook and Amazon.com Inc to give a more detailed explanation of their efforts against the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Schiff wrote letters to the heads of Facebook and Amazon to thorough their explanations about the policies introduced by the companies to curb the spread of false vaccine information.

Schiff tweeted the pictures of the letters that he has sent to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon CEO. Andy Jassy.

“Vaccine hesitancy stands between us and the end of this pandemic. And companies like @amazon and @facebook must do far more to tackle the viral spread of misinformation online. We need transparency. And we need accountability (sic),” Schiff wrote in the tweet while sharing the letters.

“Despite some concrete and positive steps previously taken, these companies owe both the public and the Congress additional answers about the exponential and dangerous proliferation of misinformation,” Schiff stated in a statement after sending letters to the US technology companies.

The companies have come under fire from the Biden government and other critics for the worrying spread of the false vaccine information that they say is decelerating vaccination in the nation and increasing hostility towards the doses.

Other US companies, including Twitter and Alphabet’s Google and YouTube, have also been criticised for allowing misinformation on the coronavirus, including vaccines, to escalate.

An Amazon spokesperson informed that the company is “constantly evaluating the books we list to ensure they comply with our content guidelines, and as an additional service to customers, at the top of relevant search results pages we link to the CDC advice on COVID and protection measures.”

Facebook stated in a statement that since the beginning of the pandemic it had “removed over 20 million pieces of COVID misinformation, labeled more than 190 million pieces of COVID content rated by our fact-checking partners, and connected over 2 billion people with reliable information through tools like our COVID information centre.”

Facebook further added that it had “removed over 3,000 accounts, pages, and groups for repeatedly violating our COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policies and will continue to enforce our policies and offer tools and reminders for people who use our platform to get vaccinated.”


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