SOTN 2021 02 Rep. Anna G. Eshoo Keynote
3:41PM Jan 26, 2021
start things off let's hear from Congresswoman Eshoo congressman issue. Thank you for joining us.
First I want to thank Tim lordan, and the internet Education Foundation for hosting the conference, and for inviting me to join you. And to all of the distinguished all woman panel, with its wealth of expertise thank you to each one of you. A few days ago our country surpassed the tragic milestone of 400,000 deaths of our fellow Americans to COVID-19 and sadly the numbers continue to climb. Towards the end of last year, our hope sword is two vaccines were approved by the FDA. I won't rehash all of the details, but the previous administration, I believe lacked a clear plan to vaccinate Americans efficiently equitably and effectively. And this is a major issue, obviously. Thankfully, President Biden has put forward his national strategy for the COVID-19 response, and pandemic preparedness, science, and evidence based plan to crush the virus. Your house health subcommittee, which I have the privilege of chairing is already working with this administration to effectuate this plan, which includes a top level goal to mount to safe, effective, and comprehensive vaccination effort of 100 million vaccines, in 100, days, one obstacle to ensuring Americans are vaccinated will be that we're experiencing what the World Health Organization calls in info demick, an overabundance of both accurate and inaccurate information related to the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic. We've seen a proliferation of conspiracies on the origins of the virus criminal efforts to sell scam treatments foreign efforts to undermine trust in our institutions and a sustained effort by the former president to spread disinformation clearly misinformation about the COVID vaccine hinders our pandemic response, and we're already seeing evidence of this. Earlier this month, more than half. More than half of Ohio's nursing home staff refused to be vaccinated, even though vaccines are available to them. The reason for this. According to the head of the Ohio Health Care Association is the misinformation that nursing home staff are seeing on their social media accounts. This isn't a problem, limited to nursing homes, or Ohio. The latest nationwide polls show that between 27% and 39% of respondents say they're hesitant about receiving a COVID vaccine. I pleased that many of the social media companies have evolved, their approach, beyond just applying labels to COVID misinformation. Since evidence shows that factual labels, don't work.
And those labels don't change protections, but removing this information is only the beginning, social media platforms, should be far more aggressive in removing accounts of repeat offenders and stop purveyors of anti vaccination content from profiting from harmful posts, beyond just removing misinformation. We need to promote good information, federal, state, and local public health agencies should more strategically, I think, communicate, public health messages online and platform companies should amplify this message platforms and government agencies should collaborate with social media influencers to model behaviors important for public health, like receiving a vaccine and wearing masks. These are not altogether difficult things to do, but we need help from them. In doing this, if we zoom out from COVID specifically, I see her online misinformation problem is largely a product design issue, the algorithmic amplification, and recommendation systems that platforms employ spread content that's emotion inducing over what's true. The model creates radicalization pathways are rabbit holes of conspiracies, and it keeps users within echo chambers, that reinforce biases rooted in anger, anxiety and fear. I believe long term solutions to this problem must involve reconsidering the role of algorithmic amplification product design and legal liability. But before we can fundamentally restructure online information ecosystems, we need to do everything we can in the short term to remove COVID misinformation and stop those who spread it amplify authoritative voices and encourage public health measures like vaccines masks and distancing. I'm grateful for the collective expertise of the panel, and I look forward to learning from each of you. Thank you again for inviting me to join you today. It's been a real honor, add to Tim Lord and thank you for your special leadership.
Hi everyone, and thank you for being here. I'd like to introduce our moderator for this panel Didi Alba, who is in your times technology reporter who has been focusing a lot on disinformation, I will let her introduce our panelists today. Thank you.
Hey everyone, thanks so much for joining. We have a fantastic slate of experts that I myself and my work have been are are in constant contact with throughout my reporting. and I am excited to introduce you all to them. We have an.