Social media companies should play their due role in identifying, implementing and evaluating ways to curtail the spread of dangerous misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior U.S. researcher said in a recent opinion piece published in the journal Nature.
“The pandemic lays bare how tech companies’ reluctance to act recursively worsens our world. In times of uncertainty, the vicious cycle is more potent than ever,” said Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In mid-March, social media giants Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube released a joint statement on their efforts to flag potential misinformation around COVID-19 on their platforms. “Preventing misinformation requires curating knowledge and prioritizing science, especially during a public crisis,” said Donovan.
The senior researcher demanded that “tech companies become more transparent, accountable and socially beneficial,” while urging holding them to this commitment long after the pandemic. “Social media companies must flatten the curve of misinformation,” she added.