Covid hearings summon tech giants to investigate fake news

tech giants covid hearings
Photo: Ascannio/Shutterstock

The Brazilian Senate’s Covid-19 hearings committee approved requests to summon executives of tech giants Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Senators want to investigate strategies used to disseminate pandemic-related falsehoods on social media.

The decision targets far-right influencers who used their social media channels to share misinformation about the coronavirus. The list includes President Jair Bolsonaro himself, who said during a Facebook live broadcast that being contaminated by the coronavirus offers immunity that is “more effective than the vaccine.” 

Last year, Mr. Bolsonaro had some of his pandemic-related posts labeled as false information, and some of his close allies fear he could be banned from social media platforms. Former U.S. President Donald Trump was banned from Facebook and Twitter after he incited violent riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

When senators began investigating the government’s pandemic response, many pro-Bolsonaro supporters deleted misleading content fearing a potential criminal charge for crimes against public health.