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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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AG Nessel signs letter calling on Facebook, Twitter to stop spread of COVID-19 vaccine disinformation

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Posted at 9:40 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 09:40:40-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday joined a coalition of 11 other attorneys general calling on Facebook and Twitter to take stronger measures to stop the spread of anti-vaxxer coronavirus disinformation on their social media platforms.

In letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the attorneys general urged both to “immediately and fully” enforce company guidelines against vaccine misinformation.

Nessel’s office says false information regarding the safety of coronavirus vaccines by a small number of individuals without medical expertise “and often motivated by their own financial interests” has reached more than 59 million followers on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

The attorney general also warns that anti-vaxxers have disproportionately targeted people of color and Black Americans specifically – communities who have already suffered the worst health impact of the virus and whose vaccination rates are already lagging.

“The availability of safe and effective vaccines means the end of this pandemic is finally in sight,” Nessel said. “However, disinformation threatens that. The rampant disinformation being disseminated across social media platforms directly undermines all efforts to safely and quickly distribute vaccines and limit further loss of life.”

The letter gives examples of where the attorneys general believe Facebook and Twitter have failed to enforce their existing guidelines, such as Facebook not consistently applying misinformation labels and popups on pages and groups that discuss vaccines or COVID-19.

SEE MORE: Tech CEOs to testify in House hearing Thursday about spread of misinformation, disinformation