US health agencies demand data on misinformation about COVID issues

US health agencies demand data on misinformation about COVID issues

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) – The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Surgeon General will request data about misinformation about COVID-19 online, as they seek to understand the role it has played during the pandemic and its impact on the health decisions people make.

The agencies will publish a Request for Information (RFI) Thursday to collect public comment and data within 60 days from interested parties such as academic institutions, advocacy groups, government agencies and community organizations.

“This RFI seeks to understand the impact of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique role technology and social media platforms play in disseminating critical health information during a health emergency,” the agencies said.

RFI will seek details about the prevalence of misinformation about COVID on technology platforms, their policies to combat such content, and sources spreading falsehoods online.

It will also seek data on how this content affects trust in the health care system, health care worker morale, and the implications for future public health emergencies.

Reuters reported in February that the White House had softened its fight against vaccine misinformation after Biden last year accused Facebook of “killing people” by spreading lies about vaccines.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Joanna Casas in Spanish)

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