Adam Schiff accuses social media companies of misinformation negligence

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June 29, 2020

Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Google, which owns YouTube, seemed to rely on a policy of revealing “as little as possible” to prevent being criticized for inaction on misinformation. He was comparing this to the way other platforms have disclosed misinformation or revealed disinformation tactics intercepted by moderators. 

“If they [Google] don’t discuss it or reveal it, then there is no problem,” he said.

Schiff was speaking as part of a forum on the consequences of digital platforms’ “misinformation negligence” hosted by George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics (IDDP). Monday’s forum was focused on misinformation that misleads voters and hurts election integrity. He joins a growing number of Democrats who have spoken critically of social media companies in recent weeks, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at the forum earlier this month.

His criticism of Google comes as a new report from the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) found that Google was pushing scam ads on Americans who searched how to vote. TTP found that search terms like “register to vote,” “vote by mail” and “where is my polling place” generated ads linking to websites that charge bogus fees for voter registration, harvest user data or plant unwanted software on people’s browsers.

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