Tech writer Andy Ihnatko joined Boston Public Radio on Friday, where he talked about initiatives by several major social media companies to slow and track the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19.

In an increasingly rare moment of positive PR for social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, Ihnatko said that "80, and I think closer to 90 percent of [coronavirus] misinformation gets zapped before anybody ever sees it.”

“That doesn’t mean that things don’t slip through the nets,” he noted. "Because as usual, the biggest problem these companies have is the sheer volume of conversation that happens through their network.”

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Now, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit called the Center for Democracy and Technology is urging these companies to preserve data about the posts that get removed. In April, they published their proposal in an open letter to social media and content sharing companies.

Ihnatko said preserving this data could give health organizations a way to better trace the spread of the novel virus.

"Just like you can see how weather moves around, they [could] see how bad information moves around, and correlate that to people not doing what they should be doing -- not wearing masks, not washing up, or not believing that certain precautions are going to work in their best interest.”

"It shows you the sophistication of these models, and how powerful social media [can] actually save [lives],” he said.