‘Facebook doesn’t kill people,’ Biden says as he steps back against vaccine lies – .

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‘Facebook doesn’t kill people,’ Biden says as he steps back against vaccine lies – .


U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy from the White House in Washington, United States, July 19, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
President Joe Biden returned to some of his criticism of Facebook, saying on Monday he intended to accuse a dozen users, but not the social media platform itself, of spreading deadly lies about Covid vaccines.
“Facebook doesn’t kill people,” Biden said.

Biden added that he hopes Facebook will do more to tackle the “outrageous misinformation” about coronavirus vaccines being released on his platform “instead of taking that personally one way or another, I say that Facebook is killing people ”.

Last week, Biden appeared to say exactly that: Asking outside the White House what his message was to platforms like Facebook regarding Covid disinformation, Biden said, “They’re killing people.”

“I mean they really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s – they’re killing people,” Biden said on Friday.

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Facebook reacted on the defensive, saying through a spokesperson that it “would not be distracted by accusations that are not supported by the facts.”

“The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives,” the spokesperson added.

The tiff came just a day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that the Biden administration had started “reporting problematic Facebook posts that spread disinformation” and that the government had proposed changes to major social media platforms.

On the same day, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said disinformation about Covid poses an urgent threat to public health. He specifically called out the product features and algorithms of social media companies that can lead people “deeper and deeper into a well of disinformation.”

At the White House on Monday, Biden jumped at the chance to clarify his comments when asked about the controversy by reporters.

“I’m glad you asked me that question,” Biden said after giving a speech on the state of the economy.

Biden said that just before accusing Facebook of “killing people,” he read a report that 60% of the misinformation about Covid vaccines came from a dozen social media accounts.

“Facebook doesn’t kill people, these 12 people are there to give out misinformation. Anyone who listens to it suffers. It kills people. This is bad information, ”Biden said.

“My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally that somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing people, that they do something about the misinformation, outrageous misinformation about the vaccine. “

“That’s what I wanted to say,” the president said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on Biden’s latest remarks.

– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.

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