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Facebook, others ‘kill people’ by carrying COVID misinformation

US President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he leaves for a weekend visit to Camp David from the White House in Washington, USA, July 16, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

US President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he leaves for a weekend visit to Camp David from the White House in Washington, USA, July 16, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday that social media platforms like Facebook are “killing people” for allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to be posted on its platform as the administration continued to criticize the company.

“They kill people. … Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they kill people, ”Biden told White House reporters when asked about misinformation and what his message was to social media platforms such as Facebook Inc.

COVID-19 misinformation has spread during the pandemic on social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube. Researchers and lawmakers have long accused Facebook of not having police malicious content on its platforms.

The company has introduced rules against making specific false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines for it, saying it provides people with reliable information on these topics.

“We are not distracted by accusations that are not supported by facts,” Facebook spokesman Kevin McAlister said Friday. The fact is that more than 2 billion people have seen authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than anywhere else on the Internet.

“More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine. Facts show that Facebook helps save lives. Period, ”he said.

Twitter and YouTube did not respond to requests for comment.

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

US cases of COVID-19 https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/united-states are 70% higher than the previous week and deaths have increased by 26 %, with outbreaks in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.

Earlier on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also criticized Facebook.

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

On Thursday, she said https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-surgeon-general-warns-over-covid-19-misinformation-2021-07-15 The Biden administration was in regular contact with Facebook and marked problematic posts.

Psaki said 12 people were responsible for nearly 65% ​​of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. The finding was reported in May by the Washington- and London-based nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, but Facebook has disputed the method.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has also sounded the alarm over the growing wave of misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. On Thursday, he said it made it harder to fight the pandemic and save lives.

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