Facebook Being Investigated Over Spread Of Vaccine Misinformation
The attorney general for the District of Columbia has subpoenaed Facebook for records related to its handling of coronavirus misinformation as part of a previously undisclosed inquiry into whether the social media giant is violating consumer protection laws, Politico reports.
D.C. AG Subpoenas Facebook In Escalating Probe Of Covid-19 Misinformation
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has subpoenaed Facebook for records related to the platform’s handling of coronavirus misinformation as part of a previously undisclosed investigation into whether the tech giant is violating consumer protection laws. What he is demanding: Racine, a Democrat, is calling on Facebook to release by the end of next week an internal study it conducted looking into vaccine hesitancy among its users, as first revealed by news reports in March. (Lima, 7/1)
Facebook Probe By DC Official Targets Vaccine Misinformation
Facebook Inc. is under investigation by the attorney general for the District of Columbia over whether it has taken adequate steps to curb the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Attorney General Karl Racine is seeking internal documents that show how the social media giant penalizes users who violate its misinformation policies around vaccines, as well as materials related to a Facebook study about vaccine hesitancy among users, according to a copy of a subpoena issued by Racine’s office last month. The subpoena also demanded data on the total volume of content that has been removed or demoted by Facebook for violating its vaccine misinformation policies. (Yaffe-Bellany, 7/1)
In updates on the origins of the coronavirus —
Experts Question If WHO Should Lead Pandemic Origins Probe
As the World Health Organization draws up plans for the next phase of its probe of how the coronavirus pandemic started, an increasing number of scientists say the U.N. agency it isn’t up to the task and shouldn’t be the one to investigate. Numerous experts, some with strong ties to WHO, say that political tensions between the U.S. and China make it impossible for an investigation by the agency to find credible answers. They say what’s needed is a broad, independent analysis closer to what happened in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. (Cheng and Kang, 7/2)
Could Editing The Genomes Of Bats Prevent Future Pandemics?
Amid the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, two researchers are proposing a drastic way to stop future pandemics: using a technology called a gene drive to rewrite the DNA of bats to prevent them from becoming infected with coronaviruses. The scientists aim to block spillover events, in which viruses jump from infected bats to humans — one suspected source of the coronavirus that causes Covid. Spillover events are thought to have sparked other coronavirus outbreaks as well, including SARS-1 in the early 2000s and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). (Hayden, 7/1)
In other covid research —
Sick As A Dog? Pets Often Catch COVID From Humans, Study Finds
If you think you have COVID-19, it might be best to stay away from your pets, says the author of a Dutch study that found a surprising number of dogs and cats may be getting infected. "About one out of five pets will catch the disease from their owners," said Dr Els Broens of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, although there are no known cases of the disease spreading from pets to humans. "Luckily, the animals do not get very ill from it." (7/1)
COVID Spread In Households Early In The Pandemic
COVID-19 transmission was most commonly identified in households early on in the pandemic, but interviews also show an association with healthcare settings, according to a study yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases. In a convenience sample of 202 COVID-19 patients from 16 states, the researchers looked at transmission factors from Jan 14 to Apr 4, 2020. COVID patients ranged from infantile (younger than 1 year) to 95 years. Almost all were symptomatic (96.5%), with symptoms more likely to develop in parents of index case-patients than other members, and one in three were hospitalized for symptoms. (7/1)