Misinformation Mayhem: Social Media Platforms' Efforts to Combat Medical and Political Misinformation   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Introduction: "Social media platforms today are playing an ever-expanding role in shaping the contours of today's information ecosystem. The events of recent months have driven home this development, as the platforms have shouldered the burden and attempted to rise to the challenge of ensuring that the public is informed - and not misinformed - about matters affecting our democratic institutions in the context of our elections, as well as about matters affecting our very health and lives in the context of the pandemic. This Article examines the extensive role recently assumed by social media platforms in the marketplace of ideas in the online sphere, with an emphasis on their efforts to combat medical misinformation in the context of the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic as well as their efforts to combat false political speech in the 2020 election cycle. In the context of medical misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, this Article analyzes the extensive measures undertaken by the major social media platforms to combat such misinformation. In the context of misinformation in the political sphere, this Article examines the distinctive problems brought about by the microtargeting of political speech and by false political ads on social media in recent years, and the measures undertaken by major social media companies to address such problems. In both contexts, this Article examines the extent to which such measures are compatible with First Amendment substantive and procedural values."

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