President Joe Biden said Friday that platforms like Facebook are killing people by allowing misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines through their services.
When asked what his message was to platforms like Facebook regarding Covid disinformation, Biden said: “They kill people”.
“I mean, they really, you see, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that is – they kill people,” said Biden on the South Lawn of the White House.
Biden echoed previous comments made by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“We are dealing with life or death here, so everyone has a role to play in making sure there is accurate information,” said Psaki. “They are a private sector company. They will make decisions about additional steps they can take. It is clear that more can be done.”
Psaki’s comments come a day after she said the Biden government reported problematic posts for Facebook that spread misinformation.
“We regularly make sure social media platforms are aware of the latest dangerous public health narratives that we and many other Americans see on all social and traditional media,” she said. “We are working to work with them to better understand the enforcement of the guidelines for social media platforms.”
An example highlighted by Psaki is the spread of a false narrative that coronavirus vaccines cause infertility.
“This is disturbing, but an ongoing narrative that we and many have seen, and we want to know that social media platforms are taking steps to address it,” said Psaki. “This is inaccurate, incorrect information.”
Psaki noted that Facebook and other social media services can take additional steps to combat misinformation. This includes publicly sharing the effects of misinformation on their services, promoting quality information, and taking faster action against harmful posts.
“As you all know, information travels pretty quickly,” she said. “If it’s up there for days, when people see it, it’s hard to put that back in a box.”
Facebook spoke out against the White House claims.
“We will not be distracted by allegations that are not supported by the facts,” said a spokesman. “The fact is, more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, more than any other place on the internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out “where” and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook helps save lives. Point.”