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Members of the World Health Organization (WHO), an unelected international public health agency, are meeting to consider a draft version of a proposed international pandemic treaty which will give the WHO new powers to “tackle false, misleading, misinformation or disinformation” and be legally binding under international law.
The draft treaty contains various provisions in Article 16 (“Strengthening pandemic and public health literacy”) that require the WHO’s 194 member states (which represent 98% of all the countries in the world) to target so-called misinformation.
Member states are told to “conduct regular social media analysis to identify and understand misinformation,” design their own messaging to “counteract misinformation, disinformation and false news,” and manage “infodemics” (a phrase that was created by the WHO and describes “too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak”).
While the provisions in Article 16 don’t directly call for member states to censor content that’s deemed to be misinformation, a provision in Article 14 (“Whole-of-government and other multisectoral actions”) paves the way for Big Tech to perform this censorship on the WHO’s behalf.