President Joe Biden said on Friday that platforms like Facebook are killing people by misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine on their services.
Asked what was his message to platforms like Facebook about Covid-19 disinformation, Biden said, “They are killing people.”
“I mean they really, look, the only pandemic we have is without vaccination, and that’s — they’re killing people,” Biden said on the South Lawn of the White House.
Biden was echoing previous comments by White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“We are dealing with a life or death issue here and so everyone has a role to play in ensuring accurate information,” Saki said. “They are a private sector company. They are the ones to decide on additional steps they can take. It is clear that there is much more that can be done.”
Psaki’s remarks came a day after he said the Biden administration was flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread misinformation.
“We are regularly making sure social media platforms are aw are of the latest public health narratives that we and many other Americans are seeing across all social and traditional media,” she said. “We work to engage with them to better understand enforcement of the social media platform policy.”
One example that Saki highlighted is the spread of a false narrative that says COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility.
“This is disturbing, but an ongoing narrative that we and many others have seen, and we want to know if social media platforms are taking steps to address it,” Saki said. “This is false, false information.”
Saki said Facebook and other social media services can take additional steps to combat misinformation. This includes publicly sharing the impact of misinformation on their services, promoting quality information, and taking swift action against harmful posts.
“As you all know, information moves very quickly,” she said. “If it’s there for days and days and days when people see it – it’s hard to put it back in a box.”
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.