By Sy Mukherjee
February 15, 2019

Happy Friday, readers.

An ongoing measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest and beyond is now putting pressure on some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players, including Facebook and Google, to take action to debunk false information and conspiracy theories regarding vaccines.

California Rep. Adam Schiff on Thursday sent letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai demanding information on what the companies are doing to tamp down on the proliferation of misinformation. Anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and misleading articles about vaccination have been regularly spread via the respective companies’ platforms.

“As a Member of Congress who is deeply concerned about declining vaccination rates, I am requesting additional information on the steps that you currently take to provide medically accurate information on vaccinations to your users, and to encourage you to consider additional steps you can take to address this growing problem,” wrote Schiff in his letter.

Schiff also praised the action taken by another tech giant to fight the current misinformation trend. “I was pleased to see YouTube’s recent announcement that it will no longer recommend videos that violate its community guidelines, such as conspiracy theories or medically inaccurate videos, and encourage further action to be taken related to vaccine misinformation,” he wrote.

Facebook is reportedly working on steps to try and curb this public health fiasco; Congress is slated to hold hearings on the issue in early March.

We’ll be off on Monday for the three-day weekend. Read on for the day’s news, and see you back in your inbox on Tuesday the 19th.

Sy Mukherjee


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