A week after the general surgeon dr. Vivek Murthy declared health disinformation an an “urgent threat” to the American public, Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico introduced a new law that would change Article 230 The Communications Decency Act of 1996 to remove the protection of liability of technology companies if their platforms help spread misinformation during the health crisis.
If passed, the Health Disinformation Act 2021 would create an exception to Section 230, which would see social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, as “publishers or speakers of health misinformation” when their platforms algorithmically amplify deceptive health content. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what falls under the definition of health-related misinformation. The exception would apply only during a public health crisis, which the HMS secretary would have to declare in advance.
In determining the reasons for the change, the law states a joint report from the Center for the Suppression of Digital Hate and Anti-vax Guard, which found that as much as 73 percent of vaccine misinformation on Facebook could be linked to a group of 12 individuals known as the “dozen misinformation”. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki he recently referred to the same report, saying many of these individuals are still active on the social network.
“For too long, network platforms have not done enough to protect the health of Americans. They are some of the largest, richest companies in the world and must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation,” Senator Klobuchar said. statement. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how deadly disinformation can be and it is our responsibility to do something.”
The introduction to the law also follows a recent statement President Joe Biden. He said platforms like Facebook “kill people” by no longer doing to stop disinformation related to vaccines and health. “We will not mind accusations that are not supported by facts,” a Facebook spokesman told Engadget after Biden gave his comments. “The facts show that Facebook is helping to save lives. Period.” The president later returned to his statement, noting that people who use the platform to spread their misinformation did harm, but reiterated his belief that Facebook can do more to fight what is happening.
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