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Google, Facebook, and Twitter CEOs will be grilled by Congress over misinformation

By Nadeem Sarwar February 18, 2021, 8:54 pm
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Google, Facebook, and Twitter head honchos will sit for another round of questioning before Congress on March 25, addressing the role of their platforms in handling misinformation. The upcoming session with the heads of the three tech titans will cover two topics in particular – COVID-19 and election fraud – and how their respective platforms played a role in spreading lies and harmful information around the aforementioned subjects, which eventually spiraled into a national crisis and continues to have a worrying effect.

Whether it be falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine or debunked claims of election fraud, these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety. This hearing will continue the Committee’s work of holding online platforms accountable for the growing rise of misinformation and disinformation. For far too long, big tech has failed to acknowledge the role they’ve played in fomenting and elevating blatantly false information to its online audiences. Industry self-regulation has failed. We must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation.

Arranged by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the upcoming virtual hearing will also include members from the Communications and Technology subcommittee and the Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee. In the past few months, the combined role of Google-owned YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook in spreading misinformation about the US elections and the COVID vaccine has been questioned on multiple occasions by experts.

While Google, Facebook, and Twitter took steps such as labeling and removing posts as well accounts, a healthy dose of harmful information is still peddled on a daily basis. And even though de-platforming of Trump eventually happened over his alleged role in using these platforms to incite the Capitol Hill violence, it was too little, too late.

Regarding the ongoing pandemic and COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation, a vocal group is still spreading lies about them and continues to operate on the platforms offered by Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Each company has taken steps to curb the spread of misinformation and guiding people to reliable sources of information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, but more needs to done in this regard.

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