President Biden’s surgeon general on Thursday formally requested that the major tech platforms submit information about the Covid-19 misinformation scale on social networks, search engines, crowdsourced platforms, e-commerce platforms and instant messaging systems.
The request for information from the Surgeon General’s Office demanded that the tech platform send data and analysis on the prevalence of Covid-19 misinformation on their sites, starting with common examples of vaccine misinformation documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The notice asked companies to submit “how many users have seen or been exposed to Kovid-19 misrepresentation cases” as well as aggregate demographic data that may have been affected or affected by disproportionate exposure to misinformation.
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy also sought information from platforms about the main sources of Covid-19 misinformation, including the sale of uncertified Covid-19 products, services and treatments.
“Technology companies now have the opportunity to be open and transparent with the American people about the misinformation on their platforms,” he said. Murthy said in an email statement. He added: “This is about protecting the health of the country.”
Companies have until May 2 to submit data. Denying requests for information does not constitute a penalty, but according to the Office of the Surgeon General, the instruction to submit false information data from the Biden administration of tech companies is the first formal request.
Six months ago, Dr. Murthy used his first formal advice in the United States to spread the word against tech and social media companies, which he accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of dangerous health misinformation – particularly about the Covid-19. He described the misinformation as an “immediate threat to public health.”
The request for information is part of President Biden’s Covid National Preparedness Plan, which the White House detailed Wednesday and is a roadmap for a new phase of the epidemic where Covid-19 causes “minimal disruption,” according to the White House. Mr. Biden first unveiled details of the plan during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
In addition to soliciting misinformation data from tech platforms, the Surgeon General called on health care providers and the public to submit information about how COVID-19 misinformation has negatively impacted patients and communities.
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