Social Media Companies Profiting from Misinformation

A virtual forum hosted by GW’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics explored harm caused by online disinformation related to COVID-19 and social media regulation.

GW Today
June 19, 2020

While the spread of disinformation through social media presents a general crisis for our democracy, the online spread of disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that it also presents threats to public health, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“Fear mongering, fraudulent groups are using social media to scam users with false rumors and fake claims about COVID-19,” she said. “Foreign actors including Russia, but not exclusively there, are flooding platforms with conspiracy theories and lies to sow national dissent as America protests racial injustice. Even our own president is using social media to fan the flames of intolerance and hatred during this precarious time in the nation’s history.”

Ms. Pelosi spoke about the shortcomings of social media platforms in responding to dangerous disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a virtual forum hosted Tuesday by the George Washington University Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics.

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