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Rep. Jennifer Wexton, Sen. Mazie Hirono Introduce Bill Mandating Research Into COVID-19 Disinformation

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Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, have introduced legislation authorizing the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to conduct research into disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Disinformation Research and Reporting Act earmarks $1 million for NSF and NASEM to study the use of social media in spreading false information and manipulating public response to the global health crisis, Wexton’s office said Thursday. 

According to Hirono, the bill is meant to identify “where coronavirus disinformation came from, how it spread, and how to mitigate the impact of COVID-related misinformation and disinformation going forward".

“With this legislation, Senator Hirono and I are tasking the brightest scientific minds to examine this threat and provide lawmakers with the objective analysis we need to confront it,” said Wexton.

Research work will also cover financial incentives resulting from the spread of misinformation and potential strategies to mitigating such tactics. Wexton and Hironi will hold a virtual roundtable on Tuesday to discuss the legislation.