Selena Gomez accuses Facebook of spreading 'scientific disinformation' about coronavirus
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Selena Gomez believes Facebook could be responsible for "thousands of deaths" for purportedly spreading disinformation about the novel coronavirus.
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The 28-year-old pop star took to Twitter on Tuesday to share a video featuring Imran Ahmed, the founding CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), who speaks to BBC News about how big tech companies are reporting information related to COVID-19.
In the clip shared to Gomez's account, Ahmed is questioned about Facebook's previous claim that it removes misinformation "that could lead to physical harm" and about vaccines. He claimed through his task force's findings that companies like Facebook aren't exactly taking down as many posts as they claim to be.
"So we took 1,000 bits of misinformation. We got some volunteers to report it using their own systems…Less than 5% was taken down," Ahmed claimed. "And that's what happens when you actually check up on them. The truth is that we've been gaslit by the social media companies who say they're doing their utmost but in reality they're doing absolutely nothing."
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Gomez, whose Twitter account boasts 64 million followers, called on Facebook to make sure it's keeping a close eye on what is said on its platform.
"Scientific disinformation has and will cost lives. @Facebook said they don't allow lies about COVID and vaccines to be spread on their platforms. So how come all of this is still happening?" Gomez tweeted.
The "Lose You to Love Me" singer continued: "Facebook is going to be responsible for thousands of deaths if they don't take action now!"
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The Center for Countering Digital Hate applauded Gomez for joining in on the "outrage" against Facebook for allegedly "profiting by prolonging the pandemic."
A spokesperson for Facebook, however, claimed the company is committed to communicating correct facts related to COVID-19 vaccines.
"We are committed to reaching as many people as possible with accurate information about vaccines, and launched partnerships with WHO and Unicef to do just that. We've banned ads that discourage people from getting vaccines and reduced the number of people who see vaccine hoaxes verified by the WHO and the CDC," the statement on behalf of the social media platform said.
It continues: "We also label Pages and Groups that repeatedly share vaccine hoaxes, lower their posts in News Feed, and do not recommend them to anyone. We continue to remove accounts and content that violate our policies and are the only company to work with over 80 fact-checking organizations around the world. "
Back in July, Facebook created a section in its COVID-19 Information Center called “Facts About COVID-19” in which the World Health Organization would “debunk common myths about the pandemic.”
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At the time, a Facebook spokesman told FOX Business the company has “been connecting people with authoritative info on COVID since January” and the info center has been live since March. Facebook said its efforts had connected 2 billion people to info from health authorities.
Similarly, reports from earlier this month claimed the social media giant is changing its hate-speech algorithms to prioritize the removal of posts targeting minority groups. The initiative, dubbed the WoW Project, aims to improve Facebook's automated systems that find and immediately delete hate speech and racial slurs, which are prohibited on the website, The Washington Post reported, citing internal documents.
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