Facebook's slow action on taking down misinformation about COVID-19 has costed lives, according to the United States government.
On July 16, US President Joe Biden said that the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19 on social media, especially on Facebook, is "killing people."
Facebook's COVID-19 Misinformation Problem
President Biden's answer was a response to a question from a reporter about the alleged role of social media platforms, like Facebook, in spreading false information about the COVID-19 vaccine and the pandemic, according to BBC.
The US government has been pressuring all the social media companies to fix the ongoing issue of disinformation on their sites.
Facebook stated that it is currently taking action to help protect public health.
The US health officials have warned that the country's increase in COVID-19 deaths and infections in recent months is hitting unvaccinated people.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press conference that Facebook and other social media platforms were not doing enough to combat the problem of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
Kevin McAlister, Facebook's spokesman, said that the social media giant would not be "distracted by accusations" that are not supported by evidence.
McAlister said that Facebook had removed at least 14 million posts about COVID-19 that were regarded as fake news, and that the company had also removed thousands of accounts since 2020.
Not Doing Enough
President Biden and his team criticized Facebook and accused the platform of not doing enough to take down groups, accounts, and conspiracy posts, such as anti-vax content.
Last week, President Biden signed an executive order that is aimed to check the power of social media companies, including Facebook.
Facebook is not the only company that has been accused of failing to remove conspiracies on its platform. YouTube was also slammed for its practices.
According to The New York Times, even though the other platforms have not done anything to solve the ongoing issue about misinformation, President Biden singled out Facebook due to a "personal grudge" that he has with the social media giant.
In 2020, President Biden was quoted by The New York Times that he was "never a big Zuckerberg fan," adding that "he is a real problem."
Continuous Rollout of the Vaccine
Since the vaccine was rolled out in the United States in late 2020, about 67.9% of adults have received one dose, while 59.2% are now fully vaccinated.
A lot of eligible people are still refusing the shot, saying that they don't trust them.
In March, CBS News reported that anti-vaccine activists on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook had reached more than 59 million followers.
The same month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were questioned in Congress over the constant spread of misinformation on the sites.
Dorsey said during the hearing that Twitter was moderating the posts on their site. Meanwhile, Pichai said YouTube had removed all videos with misleading content.
The hearing came after social media platforms admitted censoring revelations about the emails leaked from Hunter Biden's laptop during last year's presidential election.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Sophie Webster