President BidenJoe BidenJ.D. Scholten: Democratic Party is ‘getting blown out of the water’ by not connecting to voters Children under 12 could be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by winter: report Georgia secretary of state calls for Fulton County elections officials to be fired MORE on Friday said that social media companies that allow coronavirus misinformation to spread on their platforms are “killing people,” escalating a fight with Facebook and other companies as the White House warns about the spread of inaccurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Biden was asked by reporters at the White House on Friday afternoon what his message is to social media platforms on coronavirus misinformation.
“They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden said.
Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyChildren under 12 could be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by winter: report Surgeon general says social media companies have ‘enabled misinformation’ on vaccines Overnight Health Care: Surgeon general issues health misinformation advisory | WHO chief: ‘Premature’ to rule out COVID-19 lab leak theory MORE issued an advisory Thursday labeling health misinformation an “urgent threat” amid the Biden administration’s push to get more people vaccinated. Murthy said that misinformation is among a range of reasons why some Americans are not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 despite vaccinations being widely available.
“Modern technology companies have enabled misinformation to poison our information environment with little accountability to their users,” Murthy said during an appearance in the White House briefing room on Thursday. “They’ve allowed people who intentionally spread misinformation — what we call ‘disinformation’ — to have extraordinary reach.”
The White House is asking Facebook and other social media companies to be more aggressive in removing “harmful” posts that spread disinformation and flagging posts that spread information, according to White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSurgeon general says social media companies have ‘enabled misinformation’ on vaccines Biden needs to help end federal cannabis prohibition The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Merkel visits the White House before stepping down MORE.
“We are regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives dangerous to public health that we and many other Americans are seeing across all of social and traditional media and we work to engage with them to better understand the enforcement of social media platform policies,” Psaki told reporters Friday.
Psaki, as an example, noted the false narrative that coronavirus vaccines cause infertility that has spread on the internet.
“We want to know that the social media platforms are taking steps to address it,” Psaki said. “That is inaccurate, false information.”
The effort to combat disinformation comes as the vaccination rate has slowed across the country and the more contagious delta variant has spread among unvaccinated Americans, causing COVID-19 cases to rise after they were on a decline.
Biden’s comments Friday afternoon echoed those of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care: New COVID-19 cases up 94 percent in two weeks | Nurses union calls on CDC to bring back universal mask guidelines | Texas sued over law that lets citizens enforce ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion ban US’s largest registered nurses union calls on CDC to bring back universal mask guidelines Do you need a vaccine booster and other questions swirling around COVID MORE, who warned earlier in the day that 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,” Walensky told reporters during a public health briefing.
Conservative lawmakers and media personalities in particular have engaged in anti-vaccine rhetoric and offered misleading comments about the Biden administration’s vaccine outreach, posing a growing problem for the United States as it looks to get past the pandemic.
Lawmakers such as Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyEquilibrium/ Sustainability — The gentler side of Shark Week Trouble: IRS funding snags bipartisan infrastructure deal GOP fumes over Schumer hardball strategy MORE (R-Utah) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden meets with Merkel in German leader’s last official trip to Washington Watchdog files FEC complaint against super PACs linked to congressional leaders The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Goldman Sachs – Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan MORE (R-Ky.) have endorsed the vaccines, pushing back on the resistance among other conservatives to them.