“Combating Coronavirus Cons and the Monetization of Misinformation”
On Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 2:00 p.m., Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, will hold a hybrid remote/in-person hearing examining the harm caused by the spread and monetization of coronavirus misinformation online. The hearing will also consider actions needed to curtail this danger while promoting the dissemination of scientifically accurate public health information.
Misinformation related to the coronavirus has spread widely online, particularly on social media, eCommerce, and telehealth platforms. Online actors have used coronavirus misinformation to sell hazardous treatments, fraudulent vaccination cards, and fake religious or medical exemptions.
Misinformation endangers public health and fuels vaccine hesitancy by sowing distrust in safe and effective coronavirus vaccines and promoting the false notion that alternative drugs can prevent or cure coronavirus infections. Exploiting falsehoods for financial gain puts American lives at risk and sets back our nation’s progress in combating the coronavirus. While the Biden Administration has invested federal resources to fight coronavirus misinformation and called for greater accountability, increased efforts may be necessary.
During this week’s hearing, witnesses will discuss the harm to Americans caused by coronavirus misinformation every day, current trends in online misinformation and how it is impairing the pandemic response, and what actions lawmakers should consider to stop the spread of misinformation and protect the lives it is endangering.
Dr. Jeffrey Aeschlimann
Associate Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut (UConn)
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya
Professor, Senior Fellow, Department of Health Policy, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University
Dr. Jay Kennedy
Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice and Assistant Director of Research, Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection, Michigan State University
Dr. Kolina Koltai
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for an Informed Public, University of Washington Information School
Ms. María Teresa Kumar
President and Chief Executive Officer, Voto Latino