Lawmakers investigate Facebook's handling of vaccine disinformation

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Lawmakers investigate Facebook's handling of vaccine disinformation

The Facebook logo is reflected in a drop on a needle in this illustration picture photo.

WASHINGTON Reuters - The attorneys general of 14 U.S. states posted a letter to Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking if the top disseminators of vaccine disinformation on the platform received special treatment from the company.

The line of inquiry was generated after Facebook whistleblower disclosed internal documents to reveal that the social media platform has built a system that exempts high-profile users from some or all of its rules.

In the letter, which was signed on Wednesday, the 14 Democratic attorneys general explained that they are extremely concerned with recent reports that Facebook has maintained lists of members who have received special treatment and want to know if disinformation is part of these lists.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate describes the Disinformation Dozen as 12 anti-vaxxers responsible for almost two-thirds of anti-vaccine content circulated on social media platforms.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has previously said the company has introduced rules against making precise false claims about COVID 19 and vaccinations for it, and says it provides reliable information on these topics.

COVID -19 disinformation has proliferated during the Pandemic on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's YouTube. Researchers and lawmakers have long accused Facebook of failing to monitor harmful content on its pages.

In July, President Joe Biden said social media platforms like Facebook are killing people for allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to be posted on its platform.

Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook's corrupt government officials team, left the firm with tens of thousands of confidential documents and has called for transparency about how Facebook entices users to keep scrolling, creating ample opportunities for advertisers to reach them.

The letter was sent by the attorneys general of Connecticut, California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia, Maryland, and Maine.