The World Health Organization called out Elon Musk’s tweet in which he called on countries not to “cede authority” to the agency amid negotiations for a new pandemic treaty, saying the Twitter CEO’s claim was “fake news.”
“The claim that the accord will cede power to WHO is quite simply false. It’s fake news. Countries will decide what the accord says,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus.
The prompting tweet by Musk came in response to a video on Twitter in which a right-wing Australian senator argued the country should not “sign away its sovereignty” to the WHO along with a series of false allegations.
Musk, who has over 132 million followers, appeared to agree with the commentary, replying in the thread: “Countries should not cede authority to WHO.”
Tedros also directly replied to the thread, sharing information about the pandemic accord and writing that the new treaty does not impede on national laws.
WHO officials have raised concerns that misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 still pose a significant hurdle in the fight against the pandemic, with the agency last month warning that many remain unvaccinated against the virus because of false information about inoculations.
The agency added that this trend could pose significant challenges in mitigating future pandemics.
Governments across the world are in negotiations over a pandemic accord — a treaty that would, among other things, set guidelines on how to sustainably reduce travel and trade should another pandemic break out, and give WHO quicker access to outbreak locations.
Some U.S. Republicans have criticized the treaty with concerns it will supersede U.S. law, and some GOP Senators have publicly warned U.S. President Joe Biden against signing the accord without securing Senate approval.