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FACEBOOK INC

(FB)
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Facebook : U.S. senators aim to stop vaccine misinformation by going after tech's legal immunity

07/22/2021 | 07:34pm EDT

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - Two Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday will add to the stack of bills going after Section 230 - a law that protects tech companies from being sued over content posted by users - making such platforms responsible for health-related misinformation.

The legislation introduced by Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan requires internet platforms such as Facebook to take down health and vaccine-related misinformation during public health emergencies or be held liable for that failure.

It also directs the Department of Health & Human Services to issue guidelines on what constitutes health misinformation.

"These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation," Klobuchar said.

The bill quotes a study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate that found social media platforms failed to act on 95% of coronavirus-related disinformation reported to them.

Kevin Martin, a vice president of public policy at Facebook, said the company supports reforming Section 230.

"We believe clarification on the difficult and urgent questions about health related misinformation would be helpful and look forward to working with Congress and the industry as we consider options for reform."

The Health Misinformation Act is not the first bill targeting tech firms' liability shield from Senator Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate antitrust subcommittee.

Earlier this year, she co-sponsored another bill called the Safe Tech Act with two fellow Democrats. It aims to make social media companies more accountable for enabling cyber-stalking, targeted harassment and discrimination on their platforms.

The chief executives of Google, Twitter and Facebook have said Section 230 is crucial to free expression on the internet. They said it gives them the tools to strike a balance between preserving free speech and moderating content, even as they appeared open to suggestions that law needs moderate changes.

Several Republican lawmakers have separately pushed to scrap the law entirely over decisions by tech platforms to moderate content critical of former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

There are several other pieces of legislation aimed at changing the law that have been making the rounds for over a year, including a bipartisan bill from Democrat Brian Schatz and Republican John Thune.

Trump repeatedly pushed for the legal protection to be stripped away over what he alleged was censorship against conservatives. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sam Holmes)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALPHABET INC. -3.33% 2728.52 Delayed Quote.60.98%
FACEBOOK INC -3.43% 341.135 Delayed Quote.29.44%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 119 B - -
Net income 2021 40 387 M - -
Net cash 2021 79 290 M - -
P/E ratio 2021 25,1x
Yield 2021 -
Capitalization 997 B 997 B -
EV / Sales 2021 7,68x
EV / Sales 2022 6,23x
Nbr of Employees 63 404
Free-Float 84,0%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 50
Last Close Price 353,58 $
Average target price 416,46 $
Spread / Average Target 17,8%
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Managers and Directors
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
David M. Wehner Chief Financial Officer
Michael Todd Schroepfer Chief Technology Officer
Atish Banerjea Chief Information Officer
Sheryl Kara Sandberg Chief Operating Officer & Director
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