United States President Joe Biden was quickly hit with backlash and criticism from reporters and pundits after claiming that Facebook was "killing people" with the spread of COVID-19 misinformation on the social media platform.
On Friday, Biden answered a reporter by saying that Facebook was "killing people." He asserted that the social media platform was responsible for causing the deaths of many residents amid the coronavirus pandemic with the threats posed by a great number of unvaccinated people in the country.
Facebook is 'Killing People'?
On Monday, the Democrat was asked to further clarify his words where he said his administration narrowed down 12 individuals who were responsible for spreading misinformation on Facebook. He added the suspects spread false facts about the coronavirus and the vaccines against it.
Biden said his administration talked with Facebook who found out about the 12 suspects responsible for the incident. He retracted his previous statement that the social media platform was "killing people." He noted it was the 12 people that were responsible for the deaths of many residents and hoped that the social media platform would be able to respond accordingly and right the wrong.
Many journalists and media personalities took to social media to voice out their criticism of Biden's walking back on his comment. One reporter, Alex Health of The Verge, said Facebook received so much hate for the comments the president uttered. Another media personality, Dylan Byers from NBC, said Biden's comments against Facebook were not the administration's finest hour, Fox News reported.
The WH gets its weekend of rage at FB in the news, pegged to headline-friendly Biden “killing people” comment, after missing its vaccination goal— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) July 19, 2021
Then Biden gets to quietly walk back on Monday
You can even hate FB and see how manufactured this news cycle was
Not the administration’s finest hour. https://t.co/eHuRd5zZHh— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) July 19, 2021
Biden also touted Facebook for doing more than it should in efforts to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also clarified the president's remarks, saying the administration was not fighting against Facebook but with the COVID-19 virus.
Many people have continued to spread misinformation regarding the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccines meant to fight against it on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Researchers and lawmakers previously accused the social media giant of not properly enforcing its policies to keep harmful content out of its platform.
Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation
Last week, Facebook responded to the president's statements saying that about 85% of its users have reported having received the vaccine or are willing to get vaccinated. Guy Rosen, a company vice president, posted a blog that said the administration's missed goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans by July 4 was not Facebook's fault, Yahoo Finance reported.
After tensions between the Democratic administration and the social media platform escalated, several officials have continued to be in communication with Facebook over the last several days. On Monday, a senior aide said the government was working with the social media platform behind the scenes to address the issue.
Administration officials claim Facebook's current system is inefficient and ineffective in dealing with the rampant spread of misinformation. Psaki said that they did not remove any options from the table when asked about regulatory actions Biden would order. She said the responsibility would fall onto Congress to determine what to do moving forward, CNN reported.