23 December, 2021

The FCC should hold Facebook accountable for spreading COVID misinfo

icon amazon,COVID disinfo,facebook,FCC,Fox news,Youtube
Hold media outlets and website responsible for the harm they cause by spreading COVID misinfo

The media influences people's decision on whether to get vaccinated.

Some media companies make money from COVID misinformation by selling more ads. The FCC regulates TV channels and websites to restrict content harmful to the public. The FCC should hold these firms liable for the harm they cause.

"A five-member agency is in charge of regulating the TV, radio, and telecom industries, along with ensuring broadband internet access, has been missing one commissioner and a full-time chairman since Biden became president at the beginning of this year." - Yahoo

Why are Republicans are blocking President Biden's nominee to the FCC? Follow the money. This dashboard includes:

  • Examples of COVID misinformation on Facebook, FOX, Amazon and YouTube
  • Federal Communication Commission (FCC) responsibility to serve the public and Section 230
  • Realtime count of COVID related deaths with data from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
  • How to contact the FCC to demand they curb the broadcast of COVID misinformation
  • How to contact Republican senators blocking FCC nominations who can better serve the public
Hold media firms responsible for the harm they cause by spreading COVID misinformation

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Section 230: How it shields Facebook

"The law has protected Facebook and other social media giants from legal liability. Frances Haugen called on Congress to regulate Facebook and require more transparency from the company on its practices. She also urged lawmakers to reform a key federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet companies from legal liability for content posted by its users. She suggested that lawmakers revise Section 230 to make Facebook responsible for its algorithms, which are used to rank content. In doing that, Haugen thinks the company would get rid of engagement-based ranking, which feeds a cycle of feeding harmful, inflammatory or untrue content to users." - CNET

FCC regulates content that can be broadcast especially if the channel knew it was harmful.

FCC Communications Act

"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was created by Congress in the Communications Act... which authorizes the Commission to "make such regulations not inconsistent with law as it may deem necessary to prevent interference between stations and to carry out the provisions of the Act." It directs us to base our broadcast licensing decisions on whether those actions will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity." - FCC

Republicans block President Biden's nominee to FCC

“All who know Gigi Sohn would agree she is knowledgeable and a determined advocate,” ranking member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said in his opening statement about Sohn. “I am concerned about her record of expressing hyper-partisan views on many critical matters that have come before the commission and which may come before the commission again in the future.

“For all my concerns about #Facebook, I believe that Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy. It's state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints. Where's the hearing about that? - Gigi Sohn tweet” - The Hill

Check OpenSecrets for political donations to Senator Wicker by media firms including FOX and this map that shows the latest count of COVID deaths in Mississippi using data from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

COVID deaths in Mississippi

Creating realtime dashboards for advocacy

This dashboard was created with ArcGIS Online using a realtime feed of COVID cases and deaths information from John Hopkins Coronavirus. The realtime feed refreshes the data being shown. The dashboard has links to the FCC website and other resources.

TakeAway: Call the FCC to demand it prevents harmful COVID content from being broadcast.


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