E&C Democrats Request Monthly Reports from Facebook, Google and Twitter on COVID-19 Disinformation
Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) sent letters to Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey, the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter, to request information on their companies’ response to disinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past several months, we have seen a troubling rise of false or misleading information related to COVID-19 disseminated by domestic and foreign actors on platforms such as yours. This disinformation has ranged from false statements about certain groups being immune from contracting the virus to unsubstantiated assertions about masks and vaccines,” Pallone, DeGette, Doyle and Schakowsky wrote. “This type of disinformation is dangerous and can affect the health and well-being of people who use this false information to make critical health decisions during this pandemic.”
Last month, in an effort to increase transparency and accountability, the European Commission requested that certain companies produce monthly reports detailing actions they have taken to address COVID-19 disinformation on their platforms. Facebook, Google and Twitter have reportedly agreed to produce these reports to the European Commission.
“The Committee agrees that further transparency is needed to better understand both the scope of disinformation occurring on platforms and the actions that are being taken to curtail this problem,” the four Democrats continued. “Given the Committee’s jurisdiction over consumer protection and its ongoing oversight efforts around COVID-19 disinformation, we request that your company provide the Committee with monthly reports similar in scope to what you are providing the European Commission regarding your COVID-19 disinformation efforts as they relate to United States users of your platform.”
The Democrats also requested briefings to discuss the information the companies intend to produce in these monthly reports and to hear more about the efforts currently underway to combat COVID-19 disinformation on these platforms.
Click below to read the letters: