In a virtual meeting during the weekend, Pope Francis called on tech companies to be more responsible about the spread of “misinformation.”
The Pope made the remarks during the World Meeting of Popular Movements, which, according to Reuters, is “a grouping of grassroots organizations and social movements which bring attention to inequality in labour, land ownership, health care, and other social issues in the developing world.”
The pope noted that “the pandemic had laid bare the social inequalities that afflict our peoples.” He added that “technology can be a tool for good, and truly it is a tool for good, which permits dialogues such as this one, and many other things, but it can never replace contact between us, it can never substitute for a community in which we can be rooted and which ensures that our life may become fruitful.”
In his speech, the Pope singled out tech platforms for aiding the spread of misinformation.
He said: “In the name of God, I ask the technology giants to stop exploiting human weakness, people’s vulnerability, for the sake of profits without caring about the spread of hate speech, grooming, fake news, conspiracy theories, and political manipulation.
“In the name of God, I ask the telecommunications giants to ease access to educational material and connectivity for teachers via the internet so that poor children can be educated even under quarantine.
“In the name of God, I ask the media to stop the logic of post-truth, disinformation, defamation, slander and the unhealthy attraction to dirt and scandal, and to contribute to human fraternity and empathy with those who are most deeply damaged.”