On Friday, President Joe Biden claimed that the social media companies are ‘Killing people’ by failing to police misinformation on their platforms about COVID-19 vaccines.
Biden’s comments follow after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy asserted misinformation about the vaccines a threat to public health, and as the US officials advised that deaths and serious illness from the virus are almost entirely preventable because of the vaccines.
Biden on being asked if he had a message for social media platforms like Facebook where false or misleading misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines are spread, expressed to the reporters “They’re killing it.” He added,” The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.”
While addressing at the White House on Thursday Vivek Murthy claimed, “Misinformation posses an imminent and insidious threat to our national health.” He further asked to confront misinformation as a nation. He remarked that ‘lives are depending on it’.
On commenting on the role that the internet plays while spreading health misinformation, Murthy stated that technology companies and social media platforms must make meaningful changes to their product and software to minimize the spread of misinformation while increasing access to authoritative fact-based sources. He underlined that these platforms are built to encourage and not to encounter the spread of misinformation.
Murthy informed, “We are asking them to step up”. “We can’t wait long for them to take aggressive action.”
To these allegations, Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever responded, “We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by facts.” She further mentioned that the fact is over 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID 19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet.
Lever added that 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.
Twitter too posted on its platform, “As the COVID 19 pandemic evolves around the world, we will continue to dour parts to elevate authoritative health information.”