Coronavirus (1232) Big tech companies need to publicly commit to protect the world from dangerous health misinformation (4)

16 April, 2021

Selected extracts from an NPR news item and a comment from me below. Full text: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/15/987182241/the-most-popular-j-j-vaccine-st...

--

The top Facebook post about the Johnson & Johnson pause comes from a conspiracy theorist who touts that the pandemic is a cover for government control, adding to concern that uncertainty around the J&J pause creates fertile ground for the spread of misinformation...

A Facebook representative said... because this specific post did not contain any factually incorrect information, it would stay up...

Experts call this sort of tactic gray area misinformation and said it can have the same impact on an audience as blatant falsehoods when it's being received without proper context or by people with preconceived ideas...

In most cases, the social media companies say they can't do much to respond in cases such as this, since people largely are sharing articles based on factual information, even if the commentary and subtext around the posting is meant to further false ideas...

--

Comment: On HIFA we have made the case that big tech companies need to publicly commit to protect the world from dangerous health misinformation. Clearly such commitment needs to go beyond what they currently define as 'misinformation', and must include a commitment to protect the world from misleading information of all kinds that is dangerous to individual and public health. It is now more than a year since WHO met with Big Tech companies to discuss how to address misinformation. Progress has clearly been inadequate.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org