Lawmakers Propose $1M to Examine How Mis- And Disinformation Impacted COVID-19 Response
On Thursday, Democratic Congressmen introduced legislation that would give $1 million to the National Science Foundation to aid in their probe, which is investigating how online disinformation disrupted the US public response to COVID-19. The study would be mandated if the legislation were to pass, authorized by the COVID-19 Disinformation Research and Reporting Act. The probe would analyze how foreign and domestic sources aimed to purposefully relay inaccurate information to the public in order to sway opinions on the virus, including mask-wearing and its legitimacy.
The US is still working to contain the virus, which has caused 200,000 American deaths. Meanwhile, the information security industry has been combatting misinformation relating to the pandemic, specifically through social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. According to experts, conspiracy theories, myths, and hoaxes have continued to circulate across social media apps at potentially unprecedented rates.