Social Media Giants and UK Government Plan Measures to Tackle Vaccine Mis/disinformation
The promising news circulated on Monday that a vaccine, proven to be 90% effective in preventing people from catching Covid-19, is set to be put forward for emergency approval. However, where good news can circulate, so can false news. Social media giants and the government have thus created strategies to help to curb any dispersal of misleading information about the vaccine. Following a meeting with health secretary Matt Hancock and digital secretary Oliver Dowden, Facebook, Twitter, and Google came to the following agreements:
- To vow that no company should profit from inaccurate or deceptive information relating to a vaccine.
- To guarantee that they will respond rapidly to misleading content.
- To cooperate with health authorities to promote scientifically factual information across their platforms.
- To join new policy forums in the upcoming months to better their reactions to mis/disinformation and to prepare for future threats.
In recent months, hoaxes and unfounded claims surrounding coronavirus have spread virally across the internet. The government now worries that inaccurate posts on social media could hinder attempts to perform mass immunisation once a vaccine is prepared and ready to distribute.
Whilst the new measures will help to mitigate this problem, there are concerns that the infectious spread of mis/disinformation is too potent to regulate. Iain Brown, head of data science at SAS UK and Ireland, has suggested that major social media platforms consider using both AI-based systems as well as human moderators to successfully control any content deemed threatening.
Brown stated, “The implementation of these technologies in a time of crisis sets the precedent for the future of social media censoring, as user numbers continue to boom worldwide”
“This is a test for both AI and the workforce, as they work side by side to strike the balance between taking down problematic material and stifling truth. Ultimately, social media giants have a responsibility to use technology to protect the public during this crisis, by making changes which encourage fact-checking and truth.”
With plans to implement these measures, it is increasingly hopeful that these tech giants will be able to effectively keep any medical myths and falsehoods at bay.
Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.