On Friday, the White House stepped up its efforts to combat vaccine misinformation. President Biden directly criticized Facebook and other platforms for allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread. This thereby increases the number of ongoing deaths caused by the deadly pandemic.
When asked to post to platforms like Facebook, Biden replied, “They are killing people … Our only epidemic is people who have not taken the vaccine. They are killing people.” The White House did not immediately respond to a request to clarify the president’s comments.
These statements are after the White House launched a coordinated campaign to pressure Facebook and other platforms. This was to take more active action to combat misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine.
On Thursday, a report by surgeon Vivek Murthy called on platforms to impose stiffer penalties on accounts that share misinformation. In a speech to the press team, he says that algorithmic-recommendation engines such as Facebook News Feed can encourage misinformation.
“They designed product features. Like the ‘like’ button, to reward us for sharing emotional content rather than accurate content,” Murthy told reporters. “And their algorithms tend to provide us with more click-through content, which increasingly leads us into the well of misinformation.”
“We will not be distracted by allegations that are not supported by facts. More than 3.3 million Americans also use our Vaccine Search Tool to find where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives.”
Some Republicans opposed the White House push. It was an unconstitutional effort by the government to restrict private sector speech.
” The White House is in cahoots with Facebook to censor Americans, ” said Rep. Ken Barker (RCO), who was anti-trust against Facebook, a outspoken supporter of the action.