Bobby Rush asks Facebook, Twitter about racist COVID-19 misinformation


Illinois US Congressman Bobby Hurry speaks to the group at a rally for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago Point out University Convocation Center on the South facet of Chicago.

Ralf-Finn Hestoft | Corbis | Getty Image

Rep. Bobby Rush sent a letter to the CEOs of Fb and Twitter on Friday inquiring how they are combating “race-based concentrating on and harassment” as misinformation all-around the new coronavirus spreads on-line. 

“I have been profoundly upset to see many examples of misinformation and downright lies propagated on your platforms,” the Illinois Democrat wrote. “Furthermore, considerably of this misinformation has also conveyed racist themes and language — practically including insult to damage.”

Hurry pointed out just one instance of race-dependent misinformation about COVID-19 on Twitter from before in the working day. The congressman tagged Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey in a information commenting on a submit that falsely claimed “Blacks are not getting Coronavirus!”

“[W]hat precisely are you carrying out about this type of blatant misinformation?” Hurry reported on Twitter. “By allowing these lies to unfold, you are COMPLICIT in any damage that might be experienced by associates of my group as a final result.”

The claim that COVID-19 isn’t going to influence persons of color is not supported by proof. The Centers for Disease Handle and Prevention suggests on its web-site, “Ailments can make any one ill no matter of their race  or ethnicity.” PolitiFact rated the assert that the pigment melanin helps make men and women of coloration immune to the coronavirus as untrue. PolitiFact is a simple fact-examining husband or wife of Facebook’s and reviewed the declare following an post purporting it to be genuine was shared and flagged on the system.

Hurry mentioned in the letter that race-primarily based misinformation about the virus can have real repercussions.

“These characterizations have led to race-based mostly violence around the planet and have tried to lull sure racial teams into a unsafe, untrue feeling of safety with regards to their susceptibility to this condition,” Rush wrote. 

COVID-19 is just the most recent matter to turn out to be ripe for misinformation claims, whether or not intentional or not.

Fb, Twitter and other tech providers have now taken proactive actions, like directing consumers to reliable sources of data on the virus, to fight misinformation and other damaging methods associated to COVID-19 on their platforms. The companies had been among a team of tech peers that participated in a assembly with the Planet Health and fitness Group (WHO) to locate a way to lessen the distribute of misinformation on the net, CNBC formerly described. The businesses also reportedly participated in a contact with the White Residence this week to focus on very similar subject areas.

Hurry desires to know precisely what Fb and Twitter are doing to protect against misinformation from spreading on their providers, how they’re discouraging race-based targeting and how they are producing their platforms trusted areas to serve correct information and facts.

Both companies acknowledged acquiring the letter but did not deliver a comment.

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Observe: Tech corporations move up attempts to fight coronavirus misinformation


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