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The New York Times: Free Speech vs. Disinformation Comes to a Head

Steven Lee Myers

Feb 9, 2023

The outcome of a case in federal court could help decide whether the First Amendment is a barrier to virtually any government efforts to stifle disinformation.

In July 2021, as Covid-19 cases began to surge again, the surgeon general warned that misinformation had led to “avoidable illnesses and death” and urged the nation’s social media giants to do more to fight the sources of it.

“We’re asking them to operate with greater transparency and accountability,” the official, Dr. Vivek Murthy, said at the White House.

Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, responded days later, sounding aggrieved. “It’s not great to be accused of killing people,” Mr. Clegg testily wrote in a private text message to Dr. Murthy.

The platform nonetheless announced a series of new policies and took down 17 accounts linked to the “Disinformation Dozen,” a disparate group of people who shared an estimated 65 percent of all anti-vaccination content online.

Read more in The New York Times.

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