Majority of the Public Thinks Social Media Companies Should Be Liable for Spread of Anti-Vaccine and Health Misinformation
Social media companies are continuing to take heat from lawmakers for the dissemination of COVID-19 and anti-vaccine misinformation on their platforms. A new Morning Consult poll indicates that the public thinks that heat is warranted. Some key takeaways:
63% of U.S adults said they’d support a federal bill holding platforms responsible for misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and other public health crises.
Support for such legislation — similar to Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) proposal to strip Section 230 protections from platforms that allow misinformation to spread during health emergencies — is backed by 78% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans.
Social media platforms are doing a “poor” job combating anti-vaccine misinformation, 35% of Americans say.
And another 27% say the performance of platforms on that front is just “fair.”
The bipartisan infrastructure package, which advanced in the Senate yesterday by a 67-32 vote, includes $65 billion for broadband and would create a “permanent program to help more low-income households access the internet,” according to a statement from the White House. According to a draft copy of the broadband section of the bill obtained by NBC News, the package would standardize a minimum speed of 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up, prod internet service providers to aim for higher speeds and require the federal government to create a website that enables consumers to determine their eligibility for low-cost broadband service. (NBC News)
Facebook Inc. doubled its year-over-year profit to $10.39 billion and saw its revenue climb 56 percent to $29.08 billion, attributing its strong second-quarter earnings to big spending in the digital ad space. Facebook cautioned investors that privacy changes to Apple Inc.’s iOS system could have a more substantial impact on the social media company’s ad-targeting proficiency in the current quarter than it did in the previous one. (The Wall Street Journal)
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in an interview that President Joe Biden will make the determination on whether overseas chipmakers will receive any of the $52 billion set aside by the administration for semiconductor research and manufacturing, even though Congress has yet to approve those funds. Raimondo said internal policy discussions on the matter are pending and that officials will “go through a big process” before delivering a recommendation to Biden. (Bloomberg)
Biden signed a memorandum ordering the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish cybersecurity performance goals. A senior administration official told reporters earlier this week that the country had “really kicked the can down the road” but is now “committed to leveraging every authority we have” in protecting critical infrastructure. (CyberScoop)
Lina Khan appears to be throwing in her lot with those politicians who want to erode tech companies’ section 230 immunity from liability over what appears on their sites. That’s one takeaway from the FTC Chair’s congressional testimony today, where she blamed a “massive increase in fraud” on “digital platforms where this conduct is tolerated and even promoted by some of the world’s largest companies.”
FCC commissioners have unanimously voted to collect input about restarting the collection of equal employment opportunity data belonging to broadcasters after a two-decade stall in doing so, according to an agency proposal unveiled Monday.
More than 90 chief executive officers, including those at Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., on Thursday urged Congress to pass a law offering a citizenship path to young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.
Ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. is considering going private in order to placate authorities in China and compensate investors for losses incurred since the company listed in the U.S. in late June, according to people familiar with the matter.
In a sign of escalation in its war against leakers, Apple sent a cease and desist letter to a Chinese citizen who advertised stolen iPhone prototypes on social media, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Motherboard.
Walmart’s investments in software and retail technologies it used to transform its business from a brick-and-mortar to one that combines both in-person and online shopping will now be made available to other retailers for the first time, the company announced today.
In a court filing Wednesday, attorneys general from 45 states, D.C. and Guam said they would appeal a June decision by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg that threw out their suit. Boasberg ruled that the states had waited too long to challenge Facebook’s 2012 Instagram and 2014 WhatsApp purchases.
The EBB, which launched May 12, is a $3.2 billion program established by Congress as part of a December COVID-19 aid package. In addition to helping low income residents get and stay connected during the pandemic the EBB includes a one-time $100 toward a computer or tablet.
Two U.S. senators on Wednesday said they are introducing a measure to prohibit funds in a $1.9 trillion government funding measure from being used to purchase Chinese telecommunications equipment from Huawei, ZTE and other companies deemed U.S. security threats.
Inmarsat Group Holdings Ltd., the U.K.’s biggest satellite company, plans to launch a constellation of low-earth orbit spacecraft and set up 5G wireless networks, joining a new space race against the likes of Elon Musk.
Qualcomm revenue was up 63% from the same period last year, and earnings per share more than doubled annually in the quarter that ended on June 27. However, that’s a comparison to a quarter where Qualcomm saw less demand for its chips and technology amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. are set to begin feeling the impact of a significant disruption to the global supply of microprocessors, a sign that even some of the largest, best-supplied companies can no longer sidestep the semiconductor crisis.
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) plans to introduce a bill Thursday morning that would update the decades-old law governing children’s privacy online, an effort bolstered by increased attention on the issue from lawmakers, regulators and kids’ advocates.
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Emanuel Maiberg, Motherboard
On Wednesday, Israeli government authorities inspected the office of spyware vendor NSO Group after a group of media outlets and NGOs worldwide published a series of articles alleging several abuses from NSO customers.
A new package of House Republican-backed Big Tech-targeted reform bills would carve up Section 230 by carving out a bunch of actors and actions from the section’s protection of social media sites from civil liability for the content they host.
Activists staged a protest with body bags labeled “disinfo kills” outside of Facebook’s Washington, D.C., office on Wednesday as part of a push to hold the social media giant accountable for amplifying false information about COVID-19.
Tripp Mickle and Chip Cutter, The Wall Street Journal
Google and Facebook Inc. will require all employees at their U.S. campuses to be vaccinated, joining a number of public and private enterprises taking new precautions as the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 sweeps across the U.S.
In the latest corporate reactions to the highly infectious Delta variant, Lyft said on Wednesday that it would not require employees to return to the office until February, while Twitter said it would close its newly reopened offices in San Francisco and New York and indefinitely postpone other reopening plans.
Under the “no return to office” policy, Cisco will not set any top-down mandate for the number of days per week its more than 75,000 employees spend in physical offices. Instead, every employee will be considered a hybrid worker and the company’s leadership is encouraging managers to grant workers flexibility in whether they work remotely or in the office.
Jose Maria Barrero et al., Aspen Economic Strategy Group
About one-fifth of paid workdays will be supplied from home in the post-pandemic economy, and more than one-fourth on an earnings-weighted basis. In view of this projection, we consider some implications of home internet access quality, exploiting data from the new Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes.