President Biden Says Facebook Is “Killing People” Because Of Vaccine Misinformation On Their Platform

The United States has a big problem with COVID. Cases are surging again and vaccinations are slowing at around 48% having been fully vaccinated, and 56% having received one dose. And President Joe Biden is understandably freaked out about this. And he lays the blame for this at the feet of Facebook:

“They’re killing people,” Biden said on the lawn of the White House. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.”

Facebook to nobody’s surprise, rejected this:

A Facebook spokesman pushed back against Biden’s accusations, noting the company directed more than 2 billion people to reliable information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Facebook has an online hub for COVID-19 information as part of an effort to steer people toward authoritative sources. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used Facebook’s vaccine finder tool, he said.

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

But the White House pushed back on that:

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there are about a dozen people creating 65% of the vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. That stat appears to come from a May report published by the Center for Countering Digital Hate

Psaki also specifically called out Facebook on Thursday, saying the administration is flagging problematic posts to the social media giant. 

“There are about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms, all of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms that Facebook owns,” Psaki said.

Here’s what I would say. A quick browse of Twitter and Instagram shows that those platforms have vaccine misinformation on them as well. And it wasn’t hard to find. So I would say that all social media platforms need to crack down on this sort of misinformation because the planet is in the worst public health crisis ever. While President Biden does have a point that misinformation kills, to single out Facebook seems narrow minded to me. I would like to see the Biden administration work with social media companies to address this, and only call out those that don’t play ball if they deserve it.

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