US Vice President Joe Biden claimed on Friday that social media sites such as Facebook “are killing people” by allowing disinformation regarding coronavirus vaccinations to be shared on their platform, as the government continued to criticise the business.
“They’re killing people. … Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about misinformation and what his message was to social media platforms such as Facebook Inc’s.
COVID- During the epidemic, disinformation has spread on social media platforms including as Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube. Facebook has long been criticised by researchers and legislators of failing to monitor dangerous information on its services.
The firm has implemented policies prohibiting particular misleading statements regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations for it, and it promises to give consumers with accurate information on these issues.
“We will not be distracted by accusations that are not supported by facts,” said Facebook spokesperson Kevin McAlister on Friday. “The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place 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. The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period,” he said.
Twitter and YouTube did not respond to requests for comment.
The Delta form of the coronavirus is now the dominant strain globally, causing a rise in mortality throughout the United States that is nearly completely among unvaccinated persons, according to US officials on Friday.
Cases of COVID-19 in the United States have increased by 70% in the preceding week, and fatalities have increased by 26%, with outbreaks happening in areas of the country with poor vaccination rates.
Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki slammed Facebook.
“Obviously, there are steps they have taken. They’re a private-sector company, Psaki told a White House briefing. “There are additional steps they can take. It’s clear that there are more that can be taken.”
On Thursday, she said the Biden administration was in regular contact with Facebook and was flagging problematic posts.
Psaki said 12 people were responsible for almost 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 methodology.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has also raised the alarm over the growing wave of misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. On Thursday, he said it was making it harder to fight the pandemic and save lives.