Biden: social networks “kill people” with misinformation COVID | Coronavirus pandemic news


Disinformation about the virus and vaccines has spread to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

President Joe Biden has said social media companies are “killing people” by not controlling the misinformation of their platforms about COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden’s comments came a day after U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy declared misinformation about vaccines, a threat to public health, and, according to U.S. officials, that deaths and serious illness from the virus are almost entirely preventable because of vaccines.

Biden, when asked if he had a message for platforms like Facebook where false or misleading information about coronavirus vaccines has been spread, told reporters on Friday: “They are killing people.”

“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” he said.

Speaking on Thursday, Murthy said misinformation about COVID-19, considered “infodemic” by the World Health Organization (WHO), was deadly.

“Misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to the health of our nation,” Murthy said during statements to the White House on Thursday. “We have to deal with misinformation as a nation. Life depends on it. “

President Joe Biden’s comments came a day after U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy declared vaccine misinformation a threat to public health. [Tom Brenner/Reuters]

Given the role the Internet plays in disseminating health misinformation, Murthy said technology companies and social media platforms need to make significant changes to their products and programs to reduce the spread of false information, while increasing the access to authorized sources based on facts.

Too often, he said, platforms are built in a way that encourages, not counteracts, the spread of misinformation.

“We ask them to step up,” Murthy said. “We can’t wait any longer for them to take aggressive action.”

Facebook spokesman Dani Lever responded: “We will not be distracted by allegations that the facts do not support. The fact is that more than 2 billion people have seen authorized information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than “Elsewhere on the Internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine search tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook helps save lives. Period.”

Twitter posted on its platform: “As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves around the world, we will continue to do our part to raise authorized health information.”

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is now the dominant strain worldwide, accompanied by a wave of deaths in the United States almost entirely among unvaccinated people, U.S. officials said Friday.

U.S. cases of COVID-19 have risen 70 percent from the previous week and deaths have risen 26 percent, with outbreaks in areas of the country with low vaccination rates.

Earlier Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki also criticized Facebook.

“Obviously, there are steps they have taken. They are a private sector company, “Psaki told a White House briefing.” There are additional steps they can take. It is clear that more can be taken. “

On Thursday, he said the Biden administration was in regular contact with Facebook and was marking problematic posts.

Psaki said 12 people were responsible for nearly 65 percent of vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. The discovery was reported in May by the Washington and London Nonprofit Center with the aim of combating digital hatred, but Facebook has discussed the methodology.

Source link