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California wants tech platforms to hand over algorithm data to curb Covid “misinformation”

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State Sen. Richard Pan and Assemblyman Evan Low, both Democrats, have introduced bills to penalize medical professionals for spreading Covid “misinformation” and to require tech companies to be more transparent about the algorithms they use.

Low introduced Assembly Bill 2098, which would make it “unprofessional conduct” for licensed doctors to spread “misinformation” about Covid and its vaccines.

Under the bill, the relevant medical boards will be required to take action against such doctors depending on factors such as whether the doctor’s advice “resulted in an individual declining opportunities for COVID-19 prevention or treatment that was not justified by the individual’s medical history or condition.”

In a statement, Low said: “These licensed physicians possess a degree of public trust, a high degree at that, and therefore must be held to account and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether or not individuals recognize it or not. And so the spreading of misinformation, of inaccurate COVID-19 information, contradicts the responsibility and threatens to further erode the public trust in the medical profession and puts all patients at risk.”

Pan’s Senate Bill 1018 will require online platforms to reveal the algorithms they use to determine the content that appears on users’ feeds. By disclosing the algorithms, Pan hopes researchers can determine why Covid misinformation is so prevalent, and what can be done to reduce its spread.

We obtained a copy of the bill for you here.

“Transparency will allow the public to make informed decisions,” Pan said. “And lawmakers and researchers need necessary information so we can hold online platforms accountable and also set standards. We should be setting standards as a community, as a society, as a state, and as a nation. You should not be left to a handful of, essentially, very rich tech executives to decide what happens to our society and how we respond to a pandemic. We all need to be able to participate in that.”

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