Social media needs to grow up and be transparent about infodemic

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Social media needs to be compelled to be transparent about the extent of its misinformation problem, particularly when it comes to false information and conspiracy theories about COVID-19, Responsible Technology Australia says.

The policy group which advocates for the ethical progression of technology says the first step to countering false information about coronavirus online is showing the size of the problem.

"We have no clear picture on why people are refusing coronavirus tests, but we do know that there are fast growing conspiracy theories hampering the government's public health measures," said Chris Cooper, executive director of RTA.

"Facebook and other social media platforms consistently say they are acting on misinformation, but they've never been transparent about the size or extent of the problem."

RTA is calling on the social media platforms to produce a live list of the most viral content about coronavirus, to finally give the public visibility on what information is circulating in the community.

"We don't let restaurants just say their kitchens are clean - we have random inspections and we investigate any food poisioning.

"We don't just accept people are paying their taxes - the tax office audits people.

"We don't blindly trust construction firms - we have building inspectors.

"Every important service provider or industry in our country has an inspection and enforcement method except Facebook and other social media giants. It's time for social media to grow up and respond to proper public oversight.

"Because regardless of how we use social media, or whether we use it at all – we are all affected by the current lack of accountability."

 
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