Joe Biden accuses Facebook of ‘killing people’ with vaccine misinformation

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President Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” by allowing what he deems as misinformation on coronavirus vaccines to be shared on the site.

“On COVID misinformation, what’s your message to platforms like Facebook,” a reporter asked the president as he was leaving the White House on Friday.

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“They’re killing people,” Biden responded. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.”

Earlier the same day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki drew criticism after she said the Biden administration is in communication with Facebook to limit “misinformation” on the coronavirus and the vaccine shared on the platform.

“So we’re regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives, dangerous to public health that we and many other Americans are seeing across all of social and traditional media,” Psaki said. “And we work to engage with them to better understand the enforcement of social media platform policies,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday during a briefing.

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Psaki added, “As you all know information travels quite quickly. If it’s up there for days and days and days. When people see it, you know, there’s, it’s hard to put that back in a box, and of course, promoting quality information algorithms, I don’t know how they work, but they all do know how they work.”

Facebook released a statement Friday appearing to object to Biden’s statement, arguing that the company is actually saving lives, not ending them.

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” Facebook said in a statement. “The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is 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 is helping save lives. Period.”

Psaki also commented on the relationship between Facebook and the White House saying, “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical experts…who are popular with their audience with accurate information.”

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Psaki suggested that social media users who are banned from one platform from spreading misinformation should be banned from all platforms.

That messaging from the White House drew the ire of many social media users who took issue with the close relationship between the tech giant and the highest levels of government.

“The Biden administration is telling Facebook which posts it regards as ‘problematic’ so that Facebook can remove them,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted. “This is the union of corporate and state power — one of the classic hallmarks of fascism — that the people who spent 5 years babbling about fascism support.”

Greenwald added in a lengthy thread: “There is no circumstance — none — in which it’s acceptable for the White House or any other agency of the government to be providing lists to Facebook of “problematic” content it wants removed, yet’s that exactly what Psaki says they’re doing.”

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

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