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Facebook and YouTube spent a year fighting covid misinformation. It’s still spreading.

“For a long time the companies tolerated that because they were like, ‘Who cares if the Earth is flat, who cares if you believe in chemtrails?’ It seemed harmless,” said Hany Farid, a misinformation researcher and professor at the University of California at Berkeley, referring to a long-standing conspiracy theory about airplane condensation trails. “The problem with these conspiracy theories that maybe seemed goofy and harmless is they have led to a general mistrust of governments, institutions, scientists and media, and that has set the stage of what we are seeing now.”

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