Lawmaker Points Finger At Facebook For Vaccine Misinformation

Facebook, as a social media platform and first of its kind, served to bring together people with similar interests and help individuals to socialize. However, as the platform started to grow, a few concerns started to shape up which radicalized Facebook from being a social media platform to an internet page with cults as groups.

These Facebook groups initiate as a result of different individuals thinking the same thing. This seems like a good thing, however, when these common grounds are just figments of imagination for one, often end up becoming a reality and truth to the others.

In the COVID-19 struck world, there was a significant rise in people opposing the vaccines. This was not only limited to third-world countries but even the United States saw one of the biggest anti-mask and anti-vaccine movements of all time.

In an attempt to figure out the root cause of these movements, the Biden government initiated a research in the United States. The numbers from the research indicated that many of these individuals are victims of false information that spreads on Facebook groups and pages.

Even before this research, there were accusations on Facebook about spreading misinformation that includes not only COVID-19 vaccines but also other vaccines important to our health.

This misinformation from Facebook and its harmful effects were identified and brought to the limelight by the White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain in a podcast with Kara Swisher from the New York Times.

Klain also mentioned the words of his last meeting with Mark Zuckerberg where he advised him to do better than the current standards. He further highlighted the life and death situation that might arise from the rampant misinformation from Facebook in regards to the COVID vaccine.

Facebook representatives recognized the severity and sensitivity of the issue at hand and informed that their policy of Covid-19 and Vaccine Misinformation has removed 18 million pieces and flagged around 167 million friends as false as a result of third-party fact-checking partners.

However, Facebook executives have often refused moderation of the platform even in the face of severe accusations against them in regards to their algorithm exploiting the human brain and its drive for finding a definite answer. Even in 2019, Facebook was under scrutiny due to political advertisements that had an effect on the elections.

At the end of the podcast, Klain highlighted the responsibility that Facebook carries in preventing more deaths due to COVID-19 as around 4 million have already died and the number continues to increase. He ended by stating that Mark Zuckerberg can provide an answer himself and should be well aware of the severity of the situation and the power that he has.

Read next: The Impact of Private Messaging on the Spread of Covid Misinformation
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