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Heidi J. Larson is director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a clinical professor of health and metrics science at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Two years ago, in a response to false information on social-media platforms, the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression condemned governments that disallow free speech in the name of public order. The report of the special rapporteur gave as an example the Chinese Cybersecurity Law of 2016, which “reinforces vague prohibitions against the spread of ‘false’ information that disrupts ‘social or economic order’, national unity or national security.”