- President Joe Biden said that platforms like Facebook are “killing people” by spreading vaccine misinformation.
- “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people” he said.
- “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period,” a Facebook spokesperson told Insider.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden said on Friday that platforms like Facebook were “killing people” as COVID-19 vaccine misinformation spreads on the platform and infections rise in several parts of the US.
“What is your message to platforms like Facebook?” NBC’s Peter Alexander asked as the President departed the White House for Camp David.
“They’re killing people,” Biden said. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.”
—The Real Facebook Oversight Board (@FBoversight) July 16, 2021
“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. “The fact is 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. 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,” the spokesperson added.
Biden’s words echoed a phrase used earlier on Friday when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said COVID-19 is becoming a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk,” Dr. Walensky said.
She added that 97% of hospitalized COVID-19 cases are in people who are not vaccinated against the virus.
The message to Facebook comes a day after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a statement saying that “American lives are at risk” due to anti-vaccine misinformation on social media.
“Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health,” Murthy said. “It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health, and undermine public health efforts. Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative.”
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