The White House wants to hold social media networks accountable for misinformation.
This was the statement from Kate Bedingfield, the Biden administration's communications director, when asked by NBC News about how numerous instances of false info about COVID-19 vaccines have been spreading all over social media.
Bedingfield reiterates that the current administration is reviewing policies, which could include various amendments to Section 230 (aka the Communications Decency Act). The Communications Decency Act was passed to protect online networks from being held responsible by what third parties are posting on their sites, writes Yahoo.
Furthermore, it was also said that the Biden administration has also been doing its share of curbing the spread of fake news by flagging problematic Facebook posts on their own.
These comments come after a few major waves of battles involving the U.S. government and social media sites. One news saw President Biden saying that the likes of Facebook have been allegedly "killing people" by allowing misinformation on COVID vaccines to spread. Another instance involves Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who was temporarily suspended on Twitter following accusations of misleading tweets regarding vaccines.
White House Vs. Social Media: A Constant Battle
Over the years, various social media networks have been targeted for allegedly allowing the spread of false information on their sites. Facebook and Twitter are two of the most mentioned, and some numbers might explain why.
Misinformation on social media could be harmless if people aren't exactly treating it as a reliable news source. The problem is, most people do that. According to a Forbes report, more folks are increasingly turning to social media sites for their daily dose of news. Facebook leads at 36% of its total users, followed by YouTube (21%), WhatsApp (16%), and Twitter (12%). Even Instagram, specifically built for sharing photos, is also being used as a news source by 11% of its total user count.
Social Media Companies Taking Action
If the White House's allegations are accurate, then the companies they're calling out should do something. One of the forerunners is Twitter, who's been implementing a way to sort out fake information from real ones by putting warning labels on them.
These warning labels come in three forms: Get The Latest, Stay Informed, and Misleading. This tweet by industry insider Jane Manchun Wong illustrates how the labels "categorize" tweets according to their content. Her tweets were penned as jokes, but you can see Twitter's anti-fake news efforts at play:
Twitter is working on three levels of misinformation warning labels:— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 31, 2021
“Get the latest”, “Stay Informed” and “Misleading” pic.twitter.com/0RdmMsRAEk
You can actually see these warning labels at work right now. When Twitter suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene's account for 12 hours, one of her flagged tweets (while still visible in the wake of the suspension) can be clearly seen marked as "Misleading:"
The controversial #COVID19 vaccines should not be forced on our military for a virus that is not dangerous for non-obese people and those under 65.— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) July 19, 2021
With 6,000 vax related deaths and many concerning side effects reported, the vax should be a choice not a mandate for everyone. https://t.co/JhYg3acrrK
There's no word yet from other sites like Facebook on how they will try to address the White House's most recent comments. This is a developing story, so stay tuned for updates here at Tech Times.
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Written by RJ Pierce