The Surgeon General called Big Tech. sought covid misinformation data from
President Biden’s surgeon general on Thursday formally requested that major tech platforms submit information about the scale of COVID-19 misinformation on social networks, search engines, crowdsourced platforms, e-commerce platforms and instant messaging systems.
A notice from the Surgeon General’s office demanded that tech platforms send data and analysis on the spread of COVID-19 misinformation on their sites, starting with common examples of vaccine misinformation documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The notice asked companies to submit “exactly how many users have viewed or exposed instances of COVID-19 misinformation,” as well as aggregated data on demographics that may have been disproportionately exposed or affected by misinformation. .
The Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy also sought information from the platform about major sources of COVID-19 misinformation, including those engaged in the sale of unproven COVID-19 products, services and treatments.
“Technology companies now have an opportunity to be open and transparent with the American people about misinformation on their platforms,” Dr. Murthy said in an emailed statement. He added: “It’s about protecting the health of the country.”
Companies have until 2 May 2022 to submit the data.
The move comes six months after Dr. Murthy used his first formal advice in the United States to launch a massive campaign against tech and social media companies, which he called to prevent the spread of dangerous health misinformation. Accused of not doing enough – especially regarding Covid-19. Dr Murthy called the misinformation “an immediate threat to public health”.
The request for information is part of President Biden’s COVID National Preparedness Plan that the White House detailed on Wednesday, a road map for a new phase of the pandemic where COVID-19 causes “minimal disruption,” according to the White House. Mr Biden first revealed details of the plan during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
In addition to soliciting misinformation data from tech platforms, the Surgeon General also called on health care providers and the public to submit information on how COVID-19 misinformation negatively affected patients and communities.
Dr Murthy said, “We are asking anyone with relevant insights – from original research and datasets, from personal stories that talk about the role of misinformation in public health – to share them with us. ”
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