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Legislator accuses Facebook of bearing responsibility for death of Alaskans

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Rep. Zack Fields, who represents downtown Anchorage, has a beef with local news sites, such as the Alaska Watchman. Fields has written to Facebook’s CEO, accusing him of the rise of COVID-19 cases in Alaska, which he attributes to blogs like Must Read Alaska.

Ignoring the First Amendment, Fields spent most of last week writing a heated letter to Mark Zuckerberg, requesting that he alter Facebook’s algorithms to hide Alaska news that he considers to be COVID-19 “misinformation” spreaders.

He summarized his letter on Twitter, claiming that Facebook is the “primary vector of COVID-19 misinformation, and it’s killing Alaskans,” referencing two links to Alaska Watchman news articles and one to a Must Read Alaska post – hinting that they should be removed from the platform.

In his letter, he wrote that “I am writing to demand that you bear witness to the carnage of Covid-19 in Alaska, which is almost entirely the result of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. As the largest ‘media’ outlet in the state, you bear unique responsibility for these deaths.”

“To be sure, there are politicians who have put short-sighted political calculation ahead of public health — but they only have an anti-public health base in pander to because of your digital network. Certainly, there are local bloggers that have spread misinformation, — but their primary reach is through Facebook, not the blogs themselves, ” he added.

“People are dying,” according to Fields, because Facebook will not “meaningfully” adjust its algorithms to prevent people from ever accessing articles from news sites such as Alaska Watchman and Must Read Alaska.

According to Fields’ letter, failing to do so is a “fatal mistake.”

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