U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, as well as other lawmakers and doctors, took part in a virtual conference hosted by George Washington University to discuss the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 on social media.
Blumenthal says deceptive posts have gone unchecked by social media platforms, and contributed to the high number of COVID cases in the U.S. and Europe.
“There is a real threat to human life and safety. And so big tech, which can be a great boon, can also be the bane of our lives when they convey this misinformation. And too often, they are complicit.”
Duncan Maru is senior faculty in global health and pediatrics at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
“So much of this horror show was preventable. While there were many contributing factors, chief among them was misinformation, fake news. That COVID-19 was created by the government of China, that social distancing measures don’t work, that home remedies can prevent hospitalization.”
Blumenthal also says scammers have taken advantage of the panic caused by the virus and used social media to advertise fake personal protective equipment. He is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to take action.
Maru and other global health professionals submitted an open letter to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, calling for more intense fact checking.