Internal documents show the tech giant meticulously tracked how misleading medical information spread — but didn’t tell policymakers, even as they demanded it do so.
But even as academics, lawmakers and the White House urged Facebook for months to be more transparent about the misinformation and its effects on the behavior of its users, the company refused to share much of this information publicly, resulting in a showdown with the Biden administration.
Internally, Facebook employees showed that coronavirus misinformation was dominating small sections of its platform, creating “echo-chamber-like effects” and reinforcing vaccine hesitancy. Other researchers documented how posts by medical authorities, like the World Health Organization, were often swarmed by anti-vaccine commenters, hijacking a pro-vaccine message and wrapping it in a stream of falsehoods.
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