Misinformation in public forums irritates local boards, big technology

Kansas City, MO – There are many places to get accurate information about COVID-19. Your doctor. Department of Environmental Health. American Centers for Disease Control.

But perhaps, your local government is not a public opinion session.

Earlier this month, during a St. Louis County Council meeting, potential masked dissidents made many misleading comments about masks, vaccines, and COVID-19, and YouTube removed the video in response to false claims about the virus.

“I hope no one will make a medical decision based on what they hear in our public forums,” he said. The video has been restored, but the class is still concerned about the impact of this misinformation.

Local government meetings videos have emerged as a recent vector of misinformation about COVID-19, creating new challenges for Internet forums that are trying to balance the potential misuse of masks and vaccines with millions and the need for government openness.

The latest video to go viral shows a local doctor who has made many misleading claims about COVID-19 During his 6-minute speech, Dr. Dan Stoke did not wear a mask, vaccines did not prevent the infection, and state and federal health officials did not follow science.

The video has garnered tens of millions of views online, prompting the Indiana State Department of Health to push back. Stock did not respond to a number of messages seeking comment.

A doctor who comes in front of the school board and tells what some people think – the masks are BS, vaccines do not work and the CDC is false – can be very compelling to the public, he said. Dr. Zubin Damania, a California physician who received a lot of messages about the Indiana clip, created his own video of the stock claims.

Damania hosts a popular online medical show under the name ZDoggMD. The video has been viewed over 400,000 times so far. Despite legal questions about the effectiveness of baby masks, he said, there was widespread criticism of stock masks and vaccines.

YouTube has removed several similar videos of local government meetings in North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, and Washington. In Blingham, Washington, authorities responded by temporarily suspending public opinion sessions.

The false claims in those videos were made during the public comment session. Local authorities cannot control what is being said in these forums, and they say this is part of the point.

In May, a video was released of a May 27 school-student meeting in Shane’s Mission District, where parents and a lawmaker were asked by the district to remove the mask, citing “medical misconduct”.

The district in which the masked authority is exercised reacted by stopping the direct transmission of public opinion. District spokesman David Smith acknowledged that it is challenging to be balanced in making board meetings accessible and not spreading lies.

“It was difficult for me to hear untrue things at the board meeting and to know that they would come out without contradiction,” Smith said. I’m all about free speech, but when that free speech endangers people’s lives, it’s hard to sit in it.

After hearing from local officials, YouTube reversed the decision and postponed the videos. Earlier this month, Google-owned company announced changes to its COVID distorted information policy to allow differences for local government meetings – although YouTube may still try to mislead content that uses comments from public forums.

While we have clear policies to eliminate harmful CVD-19 misinformation, we recognize the need to share open public forums of organizations that use YouTube, such as school districts and city councils, even if comments on those forums violate our policies. Spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said.

The flood of false claims about the virus has also challenged other forums. Twitter and Facebook each have their own policies on COVID-19 misinformation, and claim to link accounts to misleading content, such as YouTube, and eliminate the worst.

Public comment sessions before local government meetings are sometimes marked by colorful comments from local residents. But before the Internet, if someone threw fluoride into drinking water, their comments could not be national news.

Now, thanks to the Internet and social media, the deceptive music that the local doctor says before the school board speaks can compete with the CDC’s advice.

It was a matter of time before erroneous comments on these local public forums became viral.

Gregory points out a few possible ways to reduce the impact of misinformation without worrying about local governments. Grigel says clear labels on government broadcasts will help viewers understand what they are watching. Instead of sharing the video on YouTube, posting it on a government website may allow locals to watch it without enabling broadcasts.

“At any time, public forums – city council hearings, school board meetings, public parks – the public has the opportunity to spread misinformation,” he said. “It’s changed to stay in place.”


Clipper reports from Providence, Rhode Island.


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