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D.C. Attorney General Subpoenas Facebook for Records in COVID-Misinformation Investigation

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Washington, D.C., attorney general Karl Racine has subpoenaed Facebook for information dealing with the company’s coronavirus misinformation policies and how it mitigates violations among users.

Racine has demanded that Facebook disclose the findings of research it conducted into vaccine skepticism among its account holders. The study aims to trace the transmission of ideas questioning inoculation on the platform, whether in grouped communities, comments, or other avenues. Since December, Facebook has prohibited users from posting what it considers misleading or false content about the COVID vaccine, censoring or removing statements that challenge the official scientific consensus that it is effective and safe.

The subpoena requests that Facebook provide records naming all groups, pages, and accounts that have violated its policies banning COVID misinformation. It also asked for data on all the content that has been removed or demoted by Facebook for failing to obey its misinformation rules.

“Facebook has said it’s taking action to address the proliferation of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on its site,” a spokesperson for Racine told Politico. “But then when pressed to show its work, Facebook refused. AG Racine’s investigation aims to make sure Facebook is truly taking all steps possible to minimize vaccine misinformation on its site and support public health.”

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