U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) has introduced a bill that would create a COVID-19 Misinformation & Disinformation Task Force to counter the rising misinformation and disinformation related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The task force will be charged with coordinating the government’s analysis and response to false and misleading information that conflicts with official government health guidance and pandemic response efforts. Misinformation and disinformation have become so widespread that the World Health Organization has labeled it an “infodemic.”
“At a time when most Michiganders and Americans are receiving their information about the Coronavirus pandemic online, combating disinformation and misinformation is crucial to ensuring that everyone can follow appropriate health guidance and stay safe,” Peters said. “This commonsense legislation will create a coordinated response to safeguard Americans against bad actors who seek to mislead the public about the most effective ways to protect ourselves from this highly contagious virus.”
“Adversaries continue to target our democracy with sophisticated information campaigns designed to divide Americans and undermine our political system. Experts, including the World Health Organization, have reported an increase in misinformation and disinformation during the pandemic,” Klobuchar said. “One of the best ways we can fight back is to give people the tools they need to identify false information. This bill would establish a task force at the Department of Homeland Security that would help coordinate the analysis of false information and develop tools to help Americans combat it.”
The Task Force would create an awareness campaign to help inform the public of the risks of misinformation and disinformation related to the pandemic. It will also show misinformation can also be spread unintentionally.