Facebook continued its opposition to President Biden’s comment on Saturday that social media platforms were “killing people” with disinformation about COVID-19, in a blog post by its vice president of integrity Guy Rosen. The message says that “the facts tell a very different story from that promoted by the administration in recent days.”
“At a time when cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in America, the Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,” Rosen wrote. “Although social media plays an important role in society, it is clear that we need a holistic societal approach to end this pandemic. And the facts – not the allegations – should help inform this effort. “
(The post was titled “Going Beyond the Pointing Finger: Support for COVID-19 Vaccines High on Facebook and Rising.”)
Friday, NBC News Journalist Peter Alexander asked Biden what his message “to platforms like Facebook” was. The President replied, “They are killing people… the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they are killing people. »See the exchange below:
According to Rosen’s post, Facebook has been working with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland on a global investigation into COVID-19 symptoms, testing and vaccination rates. The results, writes Rosen, show that 85% of Facebook users in the United States have or want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. “President Biden’s goal was for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed, ”Rosen added.
Biden’s comment came amid mounting pressure from the White House on Facebook and other social platforms to better stem the flow of disinformation about coronavirus vaccines to their sites. A Thursday report by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on “Confronting Health Information,” included recommendations for different stakeholders, including technology platforms, individuals, educators, health professionals, funders, researchers, journalists and governments. The recommendations for the platforms included suggestions to “strengthen surveillance of disinformation” and “amplify communications from trusted messengers and subject matter experts.”
Murthy told reporters that Facebook product features “reward us for sharing emotionally charged content, not specific content,” adding that the algorithms of social media sites “give us more of what we click, dragging us deeper and deeper into a well of disinformation ”.
In Saturday’s post, Rosen argued that Facebook has already taken action on Murthy’s recommendations.
A Facebook spokesperson said on Friday that the “accusations” were not supported by the facts. Several Republicans have also expressed concern over the White House’s efforts; Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) said the White House was “in collusion with Facebook to censor Americans.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.