Attorneys general from 12 states demanded Facebook and Twitter to do more on COVID-19 misinformation in their respective platforms. The demand comes following the rise of anti-vaxxers who spread false information on the COVID-19 vaccine, amid the vaccine efforts of the federal government.

The said social media platforms have allowed anti-vaccination propaganda to flourish, giving a hard time for the authorities to invalidate those misleading information, according to an Associated Press report.

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The States on Facebook and Twitter

The Democratic attorneys general has sent a letter address to Facebook Chief Executive Marl Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The letter reads that these social media apps were used by anti-vaxxers to exaggerate the risks of vaccination. The anti-vaxxers are known to lack medical expertise, and usually post for financial purposes, according to a Reuters report.

Up to 65 percent of anti-vaccine propaganda surrounding the major social media networking sites is connected to only 12 individuals or organizations. These accounts utilize the platform to spread propaganda, according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). CCDH is a group that serves as a watchdog.

"Given anti-vaxxers' reliance on your platforms, you are uniquely positioned to prevent the spread of misinformation," said the letter sent to the developers of the app. The letter continues that the misinformation heightens the threat to the safety of millions of people in the United States.

It can be remembered that there is false information targeting specific groups like Latinos. The said false information is usually passed by family members. Reports have shown that the false information passed by minority groups is originally in the English language. Yet, they are translated to Spanish or the mother tongue of the targeted minority group.

"While they fail to take action, lives are being lost," said Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Ahmed also added that their organization has also found 59 million accounts across social platforms that follow anti-vaxxer accounts. Some of them are popular and great super-spreaders of false information.

Facebook and Twitter Defense

Facebook said, through their spokeswoman, Dani Lever, that the company has already removed millions of pieces of COVID-19 as well as vaccine false information. Lever also noted that they are trying to combat vaccine hesitancy through regularly directing their users to reliable information like the ones from the health authorities. Twitter, on the other hand, noted that their company had removed more than 22,400 tweets that have something to do with their policy on COVID-19.

"This week, the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google will appear before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee," said Ahmed. The three major platforms, along with the committee, will discuss social media's role in promulgating misinformation. Ahmed noted that the committee must utilize the opportunity to hold the companies accountable and push them to follow their commitment to eradicating false information and anti-vaxxers within their networks.

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