Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all said Thursday that they had taken steps to crack down on misleading health information, in keeping with their coronavirus misinformation policies. All three said they had introduced features to point users to authoritative health sources on their platforms.
“We permanently ban pages, groups and accounts that repeatedly break our rules on Covid misinfo, and this includes more than a dozen pages, groups and accounts from some of the individuals referenced in the press briefing today,” said Dani Lever, a spokeswoman for Facebook.
YouTube said in a statement that it welcomed many aspects of the surgeon general’s report. Twitter said it agreed with Dr. Murthy’s approach and welcomed his partnership.
Calling out tech and media companies is tricky business, and the White House has danced around the question of whether it would try to regulate companies like Facebook that have become platforms for health disinformation. Asked about this at her Wednesday briefing, Ms. Psaki was noncommittal.
“Obviously, decisions to regulate or hold to account any platform would certainly be a policy decision,” she said. “But in the interim, we’re going to continue to call out disinformation and call out where that information travels.”
Hours after Dr. Murthy’s report was issued, the Rockefeller Foundation announced in a news release that it would provide $13.5 million in new funding to strengthen coronavirus response efforts in the United States, Africa, India and Latin America, and particularly “to counter health mis- and disinformation.”
The Digital Public Library of America also said it would partner with the surgeon general by bringing librarians, scholars, journalists and civic leaders together to talk about the role libraries can play in combating misinformation.