President Biden said Monday he wants social media companies to “look in the mirror” and combat bogus information about COVID-19 vaccines on their own, a clarification of prior remarks that seemed to suggest Facebook was “killing people.”
Mr. Biden said he read an article that found 60% of vaccine misinformation on Facebook came from a dozen people.
“Facebook isn’t killing people, these 12 people out there are giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it,” Mr. Biden told White House reporters. “It’s killing people, it’s bad information.”
Mr. Biden caused a stir Friday when responding to a reporter who asked for his message to social media companies about misinformation about the pandemic.
“I mean they, really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s — they’re killing people,” the president said at the time.
Facebook took exception.
In a blog post, the company’s vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen, pointed to data that found vaccine acceptance among Facebook users is increasing and reached 85%, so Mr. Biden shouldn’t blame them for falling short of his goals.
“The fact is that vaccine acceptance among Facebook users in the U.S. has increased,” Mr. Rosen wrote. “These and other facts tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days.”
Mr. Biden clarified that he doesn’t view Facebook as a murderer but said he thinks it can do more to crack down on lies about the shots.
“My hope is, Facebook instead of taking it personally … that they would do something about the misinformation,” he said. “That’s what I meant.”
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