25th February 2024 10:47 am
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Scientists funded by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative urge Facebook to fight misinformation

A letter has been sent to Mark Zuckerberg by as many as 143 scientists, who had previously been funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative or the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

The letter was sent following a week in which Facebook employees staged a virtual walk-out after the platform refused to remove or censor a statement made by US President Donald Trump.

The scientists say that they are proud to be Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awardees and to help realise the initative’s mission to “use technology to help solve some of our toughest challenges – from preventing and eradicating disease, to improving learning
experiences for kids, to reforming the criminal justice system”
and “to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone.”

The scientists state that while social media platforms such as Facebook have emerged as primary ways of communicating information. Unfortunately, those communications are not always good.

“While they have allowed dissemination of information across the globe, they also facilitate the spread of misinformation. The spread of news that is not vetted for factual accuracy leads to confusion and a mistrust of experts. Indeed, Facebook acknowledges this in their own user policies. Thus, like many, we were disconcerted to see that Facebook has not followed their own policies in regards to President Trump, who has used the Facebook platform to spread both misinformation and incendiary statement,” said the scientists.

As you may recall, Trump two weeks ago tweeted out the phrase “when the looting starts the shooting starts” which Twitter censored. Facebook meanwhile has allowed the post to remain up uncensored.

In response to a separate tweet which was corrected to provide accurate information, Zuckerberg said that he didn’t want to be an arbiter of truth.

How long the social media boss will stick to those guns is to be seen but given that he is facing increasing criticism, we do wonder how long he can hold out.

“We urge you to consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people or groups of people, especially in our current climate that is grappling with racial injustice,” wrote the 143 scientists.

While the scientists aren’t directly involved in Facebook we’re glad to see them speak out because you sure do see a lot of posts parading as scientific evidence on Facebook.

[Via – CNBC]

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