Rep. Schiff wants Google and Twitter to use COVID-19 misinformation warnings

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 28: House managers Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Val Demings, D-Fla., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump adjourned for the day on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 28: House managers Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Val Demings, D-Fla., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump adjourned for the day on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
·Contributing Writer

One of the challenges to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is curbing the spread of misinformation. Google, YouTube and Twitter have each taken steps to provide accurate info and remove false content, but Congressman Adam Schiff says that’s not enough. In letters sent to the CEOs of Alphabet, YouTube and Twitter, Schiff asks the companies to also notify users when they have interacted with coronavirus-related misinformation.

Schiff is encouraging the companies to be more like Facebook. Last month, Facebook began alerting users if they have liked, reacted or commented on content that is later flagged by its third-party fact checkers. In his letter to Jack Dorsey, Schiff noted that Twitter took a similar approach in 2018 when it notified users who followed Russian spam accounts.

Schiff, who has fought to crackdown on both Russia’s meddling in US politics and anti-vaccine myths, commended Google, YouTube and Twitter for the actions they have taken to stop COVID-19 misinformation.

“Despite your best efforts, however, users will continue to see and engage with harmful medical content on your platforms, whether by intentionally seeking it out or otherwise,” Schiff wrote. “...Though the best protection is removing or downgrading harmful content before users engage with it, that is not always possible.”