United Kingdom

Google and Facebook could be forced to keep 'live list' of most popular Covid-19 material

Social media giants could be forced to keep a 'live list' of the most popular Covid-19 material being shared online in a push to stamp out misinformation about vaccines.

Immunisation and technology experts penned an open letter to the Federal Government urging it to introduce new laws on Monday.

They explained forcing online platforms such as Facebook and Google to keep an up-to-date list of the most viral content would allow experts to better understand the type of misinformation that was being spread about Covid-19 vaccines.

The list would also provide demographic information so experts could target specific groups and relieve any false concerns.  

Social media giants could be forced to keep a 'live list' of the most popular Covid-19 material being shared online in a push to stamp out misinformation about vaccines (stock image)

Immunisation and technology experts penned an open letter to the Federal Government urging it to introduce the new law on Monday (pictured, nurse administers Pfizer vaccine)

'A "live list" of the most popular Covid-related material being shared on social media can and should be generated – and updated in real time – by the major big tech platforms,' the letter said.

'Such a live list would help Australian medical experts identify and understand misinformation and to create community engagement responses.' 

The letter goes on to say that 'misinformation is hampering the efforts of Australian medical authorities'.

'As things stand, we are playing catch-up with a misinformation machine that is two steps ahead of us.' 

The campaign is spearheaded by technology advocacy group Reset Australia and has collected the support from Immunisation Coalition and the Immunisation Foundation of Australia.

Immunisation Coalition chief executive Kim Sampson said misinformation was a 'real threat to Australia and the world's ability to return to some semblance of normalcy'. 

Facebook has defended its strategy to combat misinformation revealing it scrubbed 12 million posts that falsely claimed to help social media users combat or 'cure' themselves of the virus.

The social media giant also has a dashboard that already provides a list of the most popular content circulating online.

Google also said it was working closely with health authorities and disease experts. 

They explained forcing online platforms such as Facebook and Google to keep an up-to-date list of the most viral content would allow experts to better understand the type of misinformation that was being spread about Covid-19 vaccines (pictured, Pfizer vaccine vial)

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