Amazon and Reddit take steps in fight against online misinformation

Brett Molina
USA TODAY

This week was another reminder of how widely misinformation spreads, and how tech companies are scrambling to push back.

Reddit shut down a popular anti-vaccine subreddit on Wednesday which had been connected to pushing misinformation about the COVID pandemic and vaccine. 

The platform also placed 54 other COVID denial communities under a quarantine, which means posts won't appear in search results on Reddit, and users must explicitly approve entering the subreddit before seeing any of its content.

Meanwhile, Amazon said it plans to block some autocomplete results linked to ivermectin – an anti-parasite drug the Food and Drug Administration has advised people not to take to treat COVID – after it appeared once users started typing "iv" into the search bar.

When users do complete a search for "ivermectin for COVID" or "ivermectin for humans," they'll see an FDA warning along with a link to the agency's website.

As the tech battle against misinformation presses forward, here's a look back at this week:

What else happened in tech?

• Apple delays child safety features. The tech giant is postponing the rollout of features aimed at curbing the spread of child sexual abuse material after critics raised concerns over the impact they could have to users' privacy. 

• The controversial Texas abortion law. Lots of activity in the tech world after the state passed a restrictive law allowing anyone to sue someone who performs procedures or helps a woman get one.

• Own a PC? Microsoft confirmed it's releasing Windows 11 on Oct. 5. At launch, it will be available on eligible Windows 10 PCs and computers pre-loaded with Windows 11.

Game break

Streamers on Twitch participated in #ADayOffTwitch, a protest against what they say is the video streamer's failure to protect users representing marginalized groups against hate on the platform. One example of this is through "hate raids," where a streamer's feed is inundated with harassing messages and slurs. 

This week on Talking Tech

On the Talking Tech podcast, we discuss the best back to school apps for your phone, how to squeeze extra battery life from your devices, and which states will start allowing residents to add their driver's license or ID to their iPhones.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.