So, Bill….. Where were ya when all the lies and misinformation about Trump were being spread on every damned social media platform?
I didn’t catch that, Bill…..What was that again?
A video that made false claims about the coronavirus received tens of millions of views and amplification from President Donald Trump when it went viral on Monday — until Facebook and Twitter removed it from their platforms.
The incident illustrates a flaw in how social media companies police misinformation, tech mogul and philanthropist Bill Gates told Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on Tuesday.
Gates, a top backer of global public health initiatives and co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT), said that the spread of the “outrageous” video illustrates the way social media platforms struggle to contain damaging misinformation on social media platforms before it gains wide attention, adding that they “probably should have improved” how they monitor such posts to prevent outcomes like the one that occurred on Monday.
The video “spread so fast that even though, eventually, the social media people stopped it,” he says. “It was so famous that now people are still seeking it out.”
“You can’t find it directly on those services, but everybody’s sending the link around because it’s still out there on the internet.”Bill Gates
The video, which features individuals in medical coats at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building, includes misleading claims about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus therapy and the usefulness of masks in reducing the spread of the virus. Hours after the video went online, Donald Trump Jr., conservative outlet Breitbart, and Trump had promoted it, among many others.
“It is really hard to believe that that’s what’s being retweeted.”Bill Gates
The video reached more than 20 million Facebook users before the company removed it, NBC News reported. YouTube also removed the video from its platform.
Gates acknowledged that the rapid spread of the video made it difficult for social media platforms to contain but also said the incident illustrates a persistent shortcoming of the platforms.
“Their ability to stop things before they become widespread…..They probably should have improved that.”Bill Gates
The criticism came a day before testimony from Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg in front of the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, where he’s likely to face questions on a host of issues, including misinformation. Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai will also appear virtually at the hearing on Wednesday.