August 5, 2021

Joe Biden accuses Facebook of vaccine misinformation, social network responds

The tone rose Friday, July 16 between the White House and Facebook over misinformation related to vaccines: Joe Biden accused the platform of “Kill people”, and the latter brushed aside these criticisms by saying help “To save lives. And that’s all. “

“They kill people. The only pandemic we have is affecting people who are not vaccinated. They kill people ” : this is the final answer given by the American president to a question about what his message was to groups such as Facebook, as he was preparing to leave the White House for the weekend on Friday.

The response from Mark Zuckerberg’s group was not long in coming, and it is scathing: “Facts Show Facebook Helps Save Lives, Period”, assured the social network in a press release. “We will not be distracted by accusations that are not based on facts”, replied the group. He argues that “More than 2 billion people have seen authoritative information about Covid-19 and vaccines on Facebook, more than anywhere else on the internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have used our tool to find out where and how to get vaccinated. “

A pandemic of the “unvaccinated”

Worried that the vaccination campaign will be bogged down just as the spread of the Delta variant is causing an upsurge in cases, the White House has clearly toughened its tone against the big tech groups, asking them to fight more against false information. Disinformation “Costs lives”US chief medical officer Vivek Murthy said on Friday. “Tech groups have let disinformation pollute our environment”, he added, asking them to act “Quickly and consistently against the biggest broadcasters” false information.

“Unvaccinated people represent almost all hospitalizations and deaths”, noted Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the response to the pandemic at the White House. This resurgence of the disease is fueled by the Delta variant, which now represents more than 80% of new cases, according to the specialized site cov-spectrum.

Biden administration spokeswoman Jen Psaki had already targeted Facebook specifically on Thursday. “There are about 12 people who produce 65% of the misinformation hostile to vaccines on social media. All remain active on Facebook, while some have been banned from other platforms ”, she had said. “Facebook needs to be faster to delete dangerous and rule-breaking messages, messages that break their rules often persist for days. It is too long “, Jen Psaki had said.

The World with AFP