Facebook executive blames society, not social networks for COVID-19 misinformation | Tech News

COVID-19 SHOCKER! Facebook exec blames society, not social networks for misinformation

Society, not social networks, is to blame for COVID-19 misinformation, Andrew Bosworth, a key executive at Facebook, said.

By:ANI
| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 22:31 IST
Fake news
Andrew Bosworth noted that Facebook plays a significant role in spreading authoritative information about COVID-19. (Getty Images)

Society, not social networks, is to blame for COVID-19 misinformation, Andrew Bosworth, a key executive at Facebook, said in an interview with Axios on Monday. He noted that free speech can sometimes be dangerous, especially when used to spread misinformation, but democracy must be able to tolerate it as it is one of the fundamental human rights. "Individual humans are the ones who choose to believe or not believe a thing. They are the ones who choose to share or not share a thing. I don't feel comfortable at all saying they don't have a voice because I don't agree with what they said, I don't like what they said," Bosworth said.

When asked whether criticism of COVID-19 vaccination would be the same without social networks, Bosworth noted that Facebook plays a significant role in spreading authoritative information about COVID-19. However, according to the executive, it is still for users to decide whether to believe this information or to listen to the personal views of other people.

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"That's their choice. They are allowed to do that. You have an issue with those people. You don't have an issue with Facebook. You can't put that on me," he said.

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At the same time, Bosworth noted that disinformation is primarily a demand problem. According to him, social networks cannot deny people the information they seek, stressing that at some point the main responsibility lies with the individual. 

Facebook uncovers fake Chinese experts targeting English-speaking audiences in US, UK

(ANI) Meta, which owns Facebook, has deactivated over 500 accounts tied to a Chinese-based internet misinformation network. The accounts pushed the allegations of a fictitious Swiss scientist named "Wilson Edwards," who claimed the US was interfering with the search for Covid-19 origins, a media report said.

Chinese official media channels prominently covered Edwards' remarks. However, the Swiss embassy stated that this individual was very unlikely to exist, reported The Singapore Post.

The Meta's analysis has found that the social media efforts were aimed at English-speaking audiences in the US and the UK, as well as Chinese-speaking audiences in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet, was "mostly ineffective", said the Singapore-based publication.

Posing as a Swiss biologist called Wilson Edwards, a Facebook and Twitter account, in July stated that Washington was placing pressure on WHO researchers studying the roots of COVID-19 in an attempt to pin the virus on China.

China's state media including CGTN, Shanghai Daily, and Global Times have mentioned the so-called scientist based on his Facebook page.

In August, the Swiss Embassy had urged Chinese news organisations to remove any reference of Wilson Edwards, stating that "there was no record of a Swiss citizen with the name Wilson Edwards and no scholarly works under that name".

Facebook analysed the public allegations about the bogus Swiss scientist and stated that it has deactivated 524 Facebook profiles, 20 pages, four groups, and 86 Instagram accounts.

The persona's original post was shared and liked by phoney Facebook accounts before being forwarded by genuine users, the majority of whom were workers of Chinese state infrastructure businesses in over 20 countries, The Singapore Post quoted Meta as saying.

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First Published Date: 13 Dec, 21:58 IST
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