The extraordinary spat between the White House and Facebook over Covid-19 disinformation has pit the President against one of the country’s most prominent companies as the race to vaccinate continues and Covid-19 cases spread. Asked whether he would take steps to hold the company accountable if they don’t do more, Biden said, “I’m not trying to hold people accountable, I’m trying to make people look at themselves, look in the mirror. Think about that misinformation going to your son, your daughter, your relative, someone you love. That’s what I’m asking.” The escalating war of words comes after growing frustration at the White House over what they say are inadequate steps by the social media platform to control the spread of anti-vaccine disinformation.
Asked by Collins whether the platform had done enough, he said he was unsure. “Facebook isn’t killing people — these 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people. It’s bad information. My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally, that somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing people, that they would do something about the misinformation, the outrageous misinformation about the vaccine. That’s what I meant,” the President said.
“To be completely honest with you, I don’t know that they did anything today, up to the weekend, I don’t think they had. But I don’t know, I don’t know the answer to that question,” he said. Asked about those comments by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Biden said, “I meant precisely what I said. I’m glad you asked me that question,” going on to explain that he had just read an article that showed that of all the misinformation on the platform, 60% of that misinformation came from 12 individuals.
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