Opinion by Letitia James and William Tong | April 8, 2021
Letitia James is the attorney general of New York. William Tong is the attorney general of Connecticut.
THE WASHINGTON POST – President Biden has announced that every adult in the nation will be eligible for the covid-19 vaccine as of April 19. The availability of safe and effective vaccines should mark the end of the pandemic, and the start of our recovery.
But vaccine availability means nothing without vaccine acceptance.
Anti-vaccine disinformation that continues to be disseminated unchecked on social media threatens to prolong our recovery and poses a grave threat to the health and safety of millions of Americans.
Facebook and Twitter have instituted a number of policies that have helped to slow the spread of dangerous vaccine disinformation on their platforms, yet these policies have been inadequately and inconsistently applied.
The solution is not complicated. It’s time for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to turn off this toxic tap and completely remove the small handful of individuals spreading this fraudulent misinformation.
Social media researchers have found that 12 individuals and their related organizations are responsible for a full 65 percent of anti-vaccine content on Facebook and Twitter.
We’ve found that these individuals and groups have repeatedly violated Facebook, Instagram and Twitter’s terms of service, and they must be removed from the platforms.
This small group of “anti-vaxxers” — most with no medical expertise and, in some cases, motivated by personal financial interests — are putting us all at risk. They have used their social media accounts, as well as other public platforms they have access to, to promote wholly unfounded pseudoscience and wild conspiracy theories regarding the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
Some of these individuals have also used their platforms to undermine the reality of the pandemic in its entirety, have promoted fake and unproven cures, and have attacked common-sense, widely accepted public health measures, including mask-wearing and testing.
In some cases, those spreading vaccine disinformation are also spreading other dangerous, debunked political conspiracies, like QAnon.
According to a recent report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, anti-vaccine accounts have reached more than 59 million followers as of last year … Click here to read more.