The President of the United States and arguably the most influential person on the planet at the moment Joe Biden has slammed social media companies like Facebook, Twitter & Youtube and said that they not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation around COVID-19 and vaccines on their respective platform.
When asked by a Journalist what is his message to the companies like Facebook, Biden sternly replied, “They’re killing people.” Further, he added, “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people”.
Researchers and lawmakers have long accused Facebook of failing to control harmful and misleading content on its platform.
Even on other social media sites such as Twitter and Google’s Youtube, Covid-19 disinformation has proliferated during the pandemic.
Biden’s statement comes at a time when Covid-19 cases are again on a rise in the US and have increased 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26% and numerous outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates. The Delta variant is now the dominant variant in the country wreaking havoc.
Facebook was quick in reacting to President Biden’s remarks and said that “accusations are not supported by facts”.
The social media giant claims 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.
In another instance, Facebook released a blog post on Saturday and claimed 85 per cent of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“President Biden’s goal was for 70 per cent of Americans to be vaccinated by 4 July. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed,” the blog post added.
Earlier last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki also criticized Facebook.
“Obviously, there are steps they have taken. They’re a private-sector company,” Psaki told a White House briefing. “There are additional steps they can take. It’s clear that there are more that can be taken.”
Psaki quoted a finding which was reported in May by the Washington- and London-based nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate and said only 12 people were responsible for almost 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms, but Facebook has disputed the methodology.