Biden on vaccine misinfo on platforms like Fb: ‘They’re killing individuals’

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United States President Joe Biden is leaving after giving an update on his administration’s response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on June 2, 2021 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House in Washington.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

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-19 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,” Biden said 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 Covid-19 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 impact 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 did not respond to a request for comment.