Social media companies came under fire after a report by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) revealed that a group dubbed the “disinformation dozen” are responsible for 65% of online anti-vaccine content.
These and similar findings have spurred criticism from U.S. President Joe Biden, who says platforms such as Facebook are “killing people,” and pop star Selena Gomez, who helms the sixth most-followed Instagram account.
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) July 21, 2021
Facebook has taken several steps to combat the proliferation of false claims on its platforms, including the launch of a Coronavirus Information Center, labeling and reducing the visibility of COVID-19 content, and removing posts and accounts that spread misinformation.
In response to Biden’s remarks, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, shared data from a Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University study showing that vaccine acceptance has increased on the platform.
The CCDH, White House officials, and civil rights leaders assert that Facebook and other social media platforms could do more. In addition to finding that platforms failed to act on 95% of Covid and vaccine misinformation, the CCDH report points to inconsistencies between moderation on Facebook and Instagram.
For example, while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was banned from Instagram on February 8 for violating policies, he was not removed from Facebook. Another report by CNN revealed that while Instagram blocked the #VaccinesKill hashtag in 2019, Facebook did not remove it until 2021, after being questioned by the outlet.