'Cesspools of anti-vaccine comments': Doctors urge Facebook to reveal data on COVID-19 misinformation

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 05, 2021, 09:47 PM(IST)

Facebook Photograph:( AFP )

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The letter by Doctors For America was signed by over 500 healthcare professionals

Various healthcare professionals have urged social media giant Facebook to disclose all of the data related to COVID-19 disinformation that is available on the platform. In a letter addressed to the company, now under the parent name Meta, the doctors wrote, "Facebook had become “cesspools of anti-vaccine comments” that created “a huge problem” that the company needed to fix".

The letter further read, "This deception must end now. So many deaths could have been prevented, and we must act with haste to prevent more, particularly with vaccines becoming imminently available for young children. We simply cannot afford another deadly round of covid and vaccine misinformation."

The letter by Doctors For America was signed by over 500 healthcare professionals. This includes medical professors at New York University, Columbia University and Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

Also read | Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should step down, says whistleblower Frances Haugen

The doctors emphasised how technological platforms like Facebook have a moral and civic duty to limit the spread of health disinformation.

"Facebook must take immediate, urgent action to stop the deadly spread of COVID-19 disinformation on its platforms. Facebook must disclose all data about the scope, reach, and content of this disinformation and its impact on users for evaluation by independent public health researchers," the doctors urged.

This comes after a whistleblower leaked internal company documents. The ex-Facebook employee, Frances Haugen leaked tens of thousands of internal documents, which give details about the company’s struggles with user safety and misinformation. 

Haugen also criticised Zuckerberg’s “unconscionable” decision to invest in metaverse concepts rather than solving its issues. 

When asked if Zuckerberg should step down, Haugen said, “I think Facebook will be stronger with someone, who is willing to focus on safety, so yes.” 

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