Social media urged to remove ‘disinformation dozen’

Social media urged to remove disinformation dozen
Misinformation around Covid-19 vaccines has led some people refusing to have them. Source: SOPA IMAGES
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Daily US Times: Google, Twitter and Facebook Facebook have been urged by US lawmaker Mike Doyle to ban a dozen people who it is claimed are spreading the vast majority of disinformation about coronavirus vaccinations.

Representative Mike Doyle made the call to the social media giants to remove their accounts during a US congressional session on how the three firms were dealing with fake news.

He challenged Sundar Pinchai, Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg to deplatform the dozen people immediately.

None have responded to the call yet.

Facebook said in a statement that it was looking into the matter to see if the accounts violated its community standards.

Google and Twitter have not responded on the specific request to remove the accounts.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) analysed more than 812,000 Twitter and Facebook vaccine-related posts and found that 65% of anti-vaccine posts came from what it called the “disinformation dozen”.

The report said: “Anti-vaccine activists on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter reach more than 59 million followers, making these the largest and most important social media platforms for anti-vaxxers.”

Three of the accused 12 individuals have been removed from at least one platform but none have been removed from all. Among the 12 are Robert F Kennedy Jr, a nephew of the former US president who leads an anti-vaccine group; Dr Joseph Mercola; and Ty and Charlene Bollinger.

Twelve state attorney generals have also written to Mr Dorsey and Mr Zuckerberg asking them to remove “a small group of individuals who use your platforms to downplay the dangers of Covid-19 and spread misinformation about the safety of vaccines”.

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