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Amazon to come before Oireachtas Communications Committee – Naughton

5th March 2019 - Hildegarde Naughton TD

Amazon will have to answer questions before the Oireachtas Communications Committee, a Fine Gael TD has said.

This follows news from the US that Amazon has pulled content from its website promoting the anti-vax agenda following pressure from US Congressman, Adam Schiff.

Hildegarde Naughton, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, said: “This case demonstrates that in the absence of regulation, we can’t trust internet giants to police themselves.

“Companies need to bear some modicum of responsibility for the content they publish. Anti-vaccination propaganda can have a devastating impact on uptake rates.

“Fake news not being restricted to politics and this particular type of misinformation has the potential to cause harm to both individuals and to the wider community.

“I would be very interested to hear from companies that host content that has the potential to have a profoundly negative impact on our society.

“News that Amazon was hosting and promoting anti-vax content is very troubling.  The World Health Organisation has listed vaccine hesitancy – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – as one of its ten threats to global health in 2019.

“Outbreaks of measles have more than trebled last year in Ireland and has seen a 30% increase in cases globally. It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Cases of measles in Europe are now at a record high.

“The uptake of the HPV vaccination was also affected by false information spread online.

“As Chair of Oireachtas Communications Committee, I will be seeking to call Amazon and other content hosts, such as Facebook and Youtube, before the Committee when discussing new Online Safety Bill which, details of which were published yesterday,” Deputy Naughton said.

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