Schiff Urges Google, YouTube, Twitter to Inform Users Who Interact With Coronavirus Misinformation

This week, Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent letters asking Sundar Pichai, Susan Wojcicki and Jack Dorsey, the chief executive officers of Alphabet, YouTube and Twitter, respectively, to proactively inform users who engage with harmful coronavirus-related misinformation before it can be removed and to direct them to authoritative, medically accurate resources.

“Though the best protection is removing or downgrading harmful content before users engage with it, that is not always possible,” Rep. Schiff wrote in the letters. “Facebook recently announced plans to display messages to any users who have engaged with harmful coronavirus-related misinformation that has since been removed from the platform and connect them with resources from the World Health Organization. I urge you to adopt a similar practice for users and others who engage with harmful information on your platform.”

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it would begin showing messages to users who had interacted with harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that has since been removed from the platform, connecting people with resources from the WHO debunking common myths. In addition, the letter highlights that Google and Twitter have joined Facebook and other major social media platforms in committing to jointly combat fraud and misinformation.

Despite important steps major Internet platforms have already taken to highlight official health sources and limit harmful medical misinformation, recent reporting has shown content spreading false and potentially dangerous statements about the coronavirus or treatments continues to be prevalent.