Facebook has replied to President Joe Biden's claim that the social media site is "killing people" by failing to effectively handle disinformation regarding Covid-19 and vaccines on its platform.
President Biden accused Facebook of "killing people" on Friday, just hours after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is "in regular contact" with the platform to ensure correct "narratives" are promoted, expanding on her Thursday admission that the White House is "flagged problematic posts" to censor.
Facebook fires back to Biden's accusation
Soon later, NBC's Dylan Byers obtained a response to Biden's remarks from a Facebook spokesman, who stated that the baseless claims would not distract Facebook. Instead, more than two billion individuals have read reliable information on Covid-19 and vaccines, according to the spokesman, which is more than any other social media site, as per Mediaite.
Furthermore, more than 3.3 million Americans use Facebook's vaccination finding feature to locate immunizations. According to the spokesman, these data demonstrate that Facebook aids in the saving of lives.
Per NY Post, Psaki told reporters at her daily press conference that the White House is "regularly" collaborating with Facebook and other social media behemoths on the "latest storylines detrimental to public health" that the administration believes should be blocked. Psaki also stated that the White House is urging social media firms to change their algorithms to encourage quality information and to make the platforms work together in removing specific individuals.
Biden administration was grilled for flagging posts online
About 12 persons are responsible for 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media sites, Psaki said while repeatedly grilled on the practice of flagging postings on Friday. Officials in the United States were reacting to an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent seven-day average of new cases was 26,300, an increase of over 70%, Daily Mail reported.
Because the infections are concentrated among those who have not been vaccinated, a further campaign to guarantee that proper information is provided has been launched. She did, however, take a shot at social media firms, implying that they could be doing more.
She was repeatedly pressed on how the administration could be certain that today's facts would not become tomorrow's lies and vice versa. Journalists highlighted the case of comments linking the coronavirus to a lab leak that was previously dismissed as false but is now being reconsidered. The tumultuous briefing came after the disclosure which transpired a day before the Biden administration highlighted potentially problematic positions.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government from "abridging the freedom of expression." That section does not apply to private corporations, but Trump launched a lawsuit against Facebook last week, alleging that the company blocked material at the government's request, implying that the First Amendment should extend to content moderation to promote free and open political discourse.
Trump's lawyer John Coale said the lawsuit would show that social media firms are "government actors" and that, therefore, the First Amendment does apply to their conduct.