US President Joe Biden has warned that the spread of misinformation about the Corona virus on social media is “killing people.”
Biden was responding to a reporter’s question about the alleged role of “platforms like Facebook” in spreading lies about vaccines and the pandemic.
The White House has increased pressure on social media companies to tackle misinformation.
Facebook says it is taking “strict measures” to protect public health.
“They are killing people,” Biden told reporters at the White House Friday. “The only epidemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” he added.
US health officials have warned that the current spike in coronavirus deaths and infections in the country is exclusively affecting unvaccinated communities.
Earlier Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Facebook and other platforms were not doing enough to combat misinformation about vaccines.
“There are clearly steps they have taken,” she said, adding, “there is more that can be done.”
Facebook spokesman Kevin McAllister said the company “will not be distracted by accusations that are not supported by facts.”
In a separate statement, the company said: “We have removed more than 18 million articles of coronavirus misinformation [وأزلنا] Accounts that repeatedly break these rules.
Facebook has faced criticism for its handling of content, and misleading content about the pandemic is still widely available on its platforms.
Earlier Friday, Rochelle Walinsky, director of the US Public Health Agency’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters: “There is a clear message coming: This has become an unvaccinated epidemic.”
About 67.9% of adults in the United States received a single dose of the vaccine, while 59.2% of adults were fully vaccinated.
Many eligible people in the United States who refused vaccinations said they did not trust them.
In March, a report said that anti-vaccine activists on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter had “reached more than 59 million followers, making this the largest and most important social media platform for anti-vaccators”.
That same month, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey — the chief executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter, respectively — were questioned in Congress about disinformation.
Dorsey told the senators that Twitter was committed to moderating the posts. Pichai said YouTube has removed misleading content and highlighted its role in transmitting vaccine information.