Biden on Facebook & social media platforms spreading false COVID-19 info: 'They're killing people'

The Biden administration had harsh words for Facebook and further social media that do not adequately crack down on false narratives in regards to COVID-19.

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UPDATED (July 16, 2021, @ 3:30 p.m. PT): Facebook responded to Biden's words regarding misinformation and Facebook's role in allowing it to propagate, heavily disagreeing with the President's sentiments about its role in saving and/or disrupting lives.

"We will not be distracted by accusations which aren't supported by the facts," a Facebook spokesperson told NBC Senior Media Reporter Dylan Byers. "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 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."


Original StoryAs the COVID-19 pandemic has gone on for more than a year now, so too has a rampant maelstrom of misinformation in regards to the disease. Whether it comes from ground-level bad actors, ill-informed politicians, and lobbyists, or even former President Donald Trump, there has been no shortage of false information spread mostly on social media throughout the previous year. While the Biden administration has had its own struggles with the pandemic, misinformation and the lack of measures against it continue to be one of the biggest challenges - a matter he addressed in calling out Facebook and further social media very recently.

Both President Joe Biden and Press Secretary Jen Psaki shared words regarding social media, COVID-19 misinformation, and the lacking effort by the former to control the latter in recent conversations, as reported by CNBC.

“I mean they really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s - they’re killing people,” Biden said to press at the White House’s south lawn.

Facebook and other social media have been a prime contributor to a rampant flow of misinformation and confusion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic since it began.
Facebook and other social media have been a prime contributor to a rampant flow of misinformation and confusion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic since it began.

Jen Psaki would go on to expand on Biden’s words in a press briefing soon after, speaking to some of the narratives that have run rampant and the challenges they pose to COVID-19 relief efforts.

“We’re dealing with a life or death issue here and so everybody has a role to play in making sure there’s accurate information,” Psaki said. “They’re a private sector company. They’re gonna make decisions about additional steps they can take. It’s clear there are more that can be taken.”

Psaki went on to bring up an ongoing false claim that COVID-19 vaccinations cause infertility, using it as a prime case of why Facebook and other social media are at fault for their lack of control of such egregious claims.

“This is troubling but a persistent narrative that we and many have seen, and we want to know that the social media platforms are taking steps to address it,” Psaki said. “That is inaccurate, false information… As you all know, information travels quite quickly. If it’s up there for days and days and days, when people see it  - it’s hard to put that back in a box.”

Vaccinations are working to aid people in this time and it feels like the work is being done where it can to push back against the COVID-19 pandemic, but with events still currently running mostly digital right now (such as QuakeCon at Home, EVO Online, and PAX Online), we still have a ways to go to get to any semblance of normal. Arguably, as the Biden administration posits, Facebook and other platforms like it have a key role in that. It will remain to be seen if they step up.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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