Pocan, Gomez Demand Facebook Root Out COVID Misinformation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) wrote a letter today to Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Facebook, demanding information as to why anti-vaccination activists that shut down Dodger Stadium—one of the largest COVID-19 vaccination centers in the nation—were allowed to organize and spread misinformation about COVID-19 on Facebook and what new actions Facebook will take to find and remove similar efforts on their platform. The letter comes after a Facebook page with almost 3,000 followers was able to organize an anti-vaccination protest across multiple groups on the platform and successfully shut down Dodger Stadium this weekend—a vaccination center administering up to 8,000 vaccine shots a day.
“Big Tech corporations like Facebook have a duty to combat deadly misinformation as our nation combats a global pandemic that has taken the lives of over 430,000 people in our country,” said Representative Pocan. “Time and time again, we hear promises from companies like Facebook that vow to root out misinformation from their massive platforms and time and time again they fall short of doing their jobs. Los Angeles County leads the nation in COVID cases and deaths—with 6,411 dead in January alone. California and our country cannot afford anymore interruptions to our vaccine distribution, Facebook has a job to do, it’s time they do it.”
“Facebook prides itself on being a place where users can make meaningful connections, but as we’ve seen over the weekend in my congressional district, ‘anti-vaxxers’ leveraged this social network to disrupt the largest COVID-19 vaccination site in the City of Los Angeles during a time when the virus is killing a neighbor of ours every six minutes,” said Representative Gomez. “The conspiracy theories exchanged on Facebook on a daily basis are cultivating a perilous environment for our constituents during this public health emergency. Social networking companies like Facebook not only have to take responsibility for their role in this crisis, but also work to take swift action in ridding their platform of dangerous misinformation.”
See the full letter here.