Surgeon general calls on tech companies for COVID misinformation data
The surgeon general issued a formal Request for Information on Thursday, urging tech companies to release data concerning COVID misinformation
As a part of President Biden’s Covid National Preparedness Plan, the surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released a Request for Information (RFI), urging major tech platforms to report data concerning COVID-19 misinformation, according to The New York Times.
Why is this important?: The surgeon general reported that COVID-19 misinformation has led people to reject COVID-19 treatment and public health measures.
- Misinformation in relation to COVID-19 has also led to harassment and even violence against law enforcement, health workers, and other frontline workers, according to the Office of the Surgeon General.
What will this data be used for?: A RFI is a tool used to gather input from several different sources within the public.
- The RFI will help gather information to learn more about health misinformation and how to address it. It will serve as a platform to “discover new information, consolidate existing knowledge, and elevate stories on how people’s lives have been affected by health misinformation,” according to the Office of the Surgeon General.
Who does this apply to?: Everyone is encouraged to participate, but the RFI specifically targets big tech companies.
- Dr. Murthy requested that “major tech platforms submit information about the scale of COVID-19 misinformation on social networks, search engines, crowdsourced platforms, e-commerce platforms and instant messaging systems,” according to The New York Times.
- “Technology companies now have the opportunity to be open and transparent with the American people about the misinformation on their platforms,” said Dr. Murthy in a statement via email, according to The New York Times.