COVID-19 puts the U.S. government and social media companies at each other's throats, but it's for an entirely good reason.
In the wake of the pandemic (and cases in the US rising in numbers once more despite vaccination drives), the White House is doing everything it can to curb misinformation regarding COVID that's been spreading all over social media. As a result, the US Senate now targets legislation that protects social media companies from being held liable, writes The Verge.
The legislation they're targeting is Section 230, which will be amended by passing the Health Misinformation Act introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Luján. Also known as the Communications Decency Act, Section 230 was passed to protect social media companies from being held liable for any misleading content posted on their platforms by any third party.
This news comes after the Biden administration, through Communications Director Kate Beddington, called out companies like Facebook and Twitter anew for allowing fake news to spread on their sites, saying that they should be held accountable for the misinformation that gets posted on their networks.
Aside from this, the White House is also extremely concerned about the false news spreading all over social media about COVID vaccines. President Joe Biden was even previously quoted as saying that companies like Facebook were "killing people" due to allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread across their networks, writes CNBC.
COVID Misinformation Online: Just How Bad Is It?
The US government and health authorities are doing everything they can, but the rampant misinformation regarding the COVID pandemic is still so bad on numerous social media networks.
It's become so bad, in fact, that companies like Twitter have begun to take action in an attempt to curb fake news. For instance, the platform temporarily suspended US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene after identifying several allegedly "misleading" tweets made by her.
Twitter flagged a handful of Taylor-Greene's tweets about COVID vaccines as "misleading" using their new warning label system. It comes in three levels: Get The Latest, Stay Informed, and Misleading, which is slapped onto a tweet based on its content. Renowned social media industry insider Jane Manchun Wong illustrates how the labeling system works by posting a series of tweets:
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
The Looming Danger of New COVID Variants
COVID is constantly mutating and has thus produced two very potent variants of itself: the so-called Delta and Lambda mutations. It's the former that's been making headlines as of late, causing an increase in cases even in nations that have already fully vaccinated a significant number of their populations.
However, scientists are stopping at nothing to deal with these variants. For instance, a recent report mentions developing a certain antibody treatment that can neutralize Delta and Lambda, which is allegedly 100% effective. But until the treatment goes mainstream, then the world should keep fighting the spread of a different type of virus that's just as deadly: fake news.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by RJ Pierce