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AGs From 12 States Request Social Media Companies Block Anti-Vaxxers

Attorneys general from a dozen states are calling for social media companies to block anti-vaxxers.
Attorneys general from a dozen states are calling for social media companies to block anti-vaxxers. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Attorneys general from a dozen states are calling for social media companies to block anti-vaxxers.  

The coalition of 12 attorneys general are calling on Facebook and Twitter to "take stronger measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 vaccine disinformation being spread by "anti-vaxxers" on their social media platforms" as stated in a public letter to the CEOs.

The letter cites a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate1, stating that “anti-vaxxer” accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter reach more than 59 million followers.

The letter specifically asks the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter to remove anti-vaxxers who have repeatedly violated the companies’ existing policies and terms of service.

The attorneys general in the coalition include the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

They letter goes onto state "Digital media research groups estimate that, as of March 10, 2021, 12 anti-vaxxers’ personal accounts and their associated organizations, groups, and websites are responsible for 65 percent of public anti-vaccine content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter."

An another example provided is when Facebook failed to place warning labels on posts and Facebook groups created by anti-vaxxer Larry Cook. Throughout the pandemic Facebook has frequently flagged pro-vaccine pages and content with warnings or removals from the platform, "in ways that have undermined pro-vaccine public education efforts." as CT AG William Tong stated in the letter.

The last example in the letter again takes aim at Facebook reading: "Facebook has allowed anti-vaxxers to skirt its policy of removing misinformation that health experts have debunked, by failing to prevent them from using video and streaming tools like Facebook Live and sites like Bitchute, Rumble, and Brighteon to evade detection."

Letter comes the day before CEOs Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Google are schedule to testify tomorrow at a joint hearing of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding social media’s role in promoting extremism and misinformation.

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