Casten Leads Letter Demanding Social Media Platforms Do More to Stop the Spread of Deadly COVID-19 Misinformation Online

April 8, 2020
Press Release

Downers Grove, IL – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) led a letter to major social media companies including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Twitter, calling on them to do more to prevent the dangerous spread of information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The letter said in part, “In the midst of a global pandemic, we write to you today concerned about the spread of misinformation on your media platforms. We applaud your efforts to collaborate on best practices to help spread good information and tamp down on bad information, but more needs to be done. During a geometrically spreading biological virus, viral social media posts about bogus cures, false claims, and conspiracy theories are deadly. You have great power to influence what the American public thinks is true – and with that power comes great responsibility.”

Members called on the companies to include an accuracy prompt on your platforms as it has been shown to reduce the sharing of false and misleading information, shut down “bots” and other autonomous agents that exist solely to amplify politically-charged misinformation, and shut down accounts of real users who are repeatedly spreading deadly information.

Representatives Bill Foster (IL-11), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Madeline Dean (PA-04), Theodore E. Deutch (FL-22), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), and Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) also joined the letter.

You can read the full letter here.