Congress Grilling Tech Companies on COVID-19 Misinformation Is a Bit Rich
There were a lot of ridiculous lines of questioning during Thursday’s congressional hearing on social media misinformation, but one that jumped out as particularly hypocritical came from Rep. Mike Doyle (D–Pa.).
After grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about their failure to eliminate misinformation on social media in general, Doyle turned to the subject of COVID-19. He asked each of the CEOs whether they believed the approved vaccines work. Each answered yes, of course.
“Then why have your companies allowed accounts that repeatedly offend your vaccine disinformation policies to remain up? ” thundered Doyle, as if he has caught them in some kind of trap. “Why in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed over half a million Americans you haven’t taken these accounts down that are responsible for vaccine disinformation?”
Zuckerberg, Pichai, and Dorsey responded that they do take down COVID-19 misinformation, though there are grey areas where something may not be provably true but is a matter of personal opinion, and the platforms are ill-suited to police all of this. This was a fine answer, but if they were feeling more combative, they could have turned the question on the congressmen: Why, in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed more than half a million Americans—and is still killing more than 1,000 people every day—is the federal government contributing to vaccine hesitancy and unavailability?
Officials at the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have yet to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine—30 million doses of it are just sitting in a warehouse in Ohio
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