Labour has urged global tech companies and the UK government to take action to tackle disinformation that is spreading on social media platforms during the coronavirus crisis.
Jo Stevens, Labour’s culture and media spokesperson, said: “Combatting the impact of the global Covid-19 crisis is difficult enough, without the uncontrolled spread of extremely harmful content on social media platforms.”
New research by non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and youth-led development agency Restless Development has found that 90% of posts containing misinformation are not acted upon after being reported.
Their study involved reporting 649 posts that they deemed to have contravened the platforms’ terms of service or publicly-claimed criteria for removing coronavirus-related misinformation.
Of the 9.4% of reported posts that saw action taken, 6.3% were removed from the platform, 2% belonged to accounts that were removed from the platform, and 1.1% were labelled as false but not removed.
Analysis determined that while Facebook removed 10.2% of the posts reported, Instagram removed just 4.4% of reported posts and Twitter only removed one tweet among the total of 179 reported.
“This was despite Twitter claiming to have adopted policies regarding coronavirus misinformation that appear to be stricter than either Facebook or Instagram,” reads the report.
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