Facebook pushed back against the statement made by the White House, accusing the social media company of “killing people”. Dylan Beyers, a Facebook spokesperson, told NBC that in private exchanges, the Surgeon General lauded their work, particularly their efforts of informing people about coronavirus.
Facebook spokesperson: The White House is just looking for a scapegoat
Beyers added the administration knows what they were doing. However, the White House is just looking for a scapegoat because they missed their vaccine goals. The spokesperson of Facebook also claimed that there are over two billion people have seen the information they have on Facebook about coronavirus and COVID vaccines.
Beyers added that more than 3.3 million Americans used the vaccine finder tool in their platform to see where and how can they get vaccinated. The spokesperson then noted these facts show how the social media platform is actually helping save people’s lives.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 17, 2021
On Friday, Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” through misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines that are shared on the social media platform. Biden made remarks saying that the pandemic is only present among people who are unvaccinated.
These remarks made by Biden came after the White House Press secretary claimed on Friday that the Biden administration is working with Facebook on “flagging” posts that allegedly spread “misinformation.”
Reporter: "What's your message to platforms like Facebook?"
President Biden: "They're killing people." pic.twitter.com/jrAvQpG7i0
— The Hill (@thehill) July 16, 2021
Psaki mentioned that they are working with medical experts and doctors who have a good following on social media to spread accurate information. She also claimed that the administration is helping to have trusted content “out there.”
Then on Wednesday, the Surgeon General’s office released a new report entitled “Confronting Health Misinformation.” The report contains recommendations for social media platforms to command strict consequences for social media accounts that repeatedly violate the policies of the platform.
During the briefing on Thursday with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, he also added that “misinformation” is a threat to public health.
Facebook has been reviewing and debunking false claims about COVID-19
As early as January 2020, the third party fact-checker team of Facebook has been working with health professionals in reviewing and debunking false claims about coronavirus.
Facebook users are informed by the company whether they “liked” COVID-19 false information posted on the platform. Facebook also claimed that they removed over 12 million posts on Facebook about COVID-19 and vaccines.
According to Facebook’s website, the social media giant also uses human moderators and artificial intelligence tools in removing or fact-checking content that is related to coronavirus and vaccines which could potentially cause harm to users of Facebook and Instagram.
The social media company also worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, as well as other local health departments, in sharing information with regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet, the White House accused the website of being a platform that fosters “misinformation”.