WASHINGTON – President Biden let go of his growing frustration on social media on Friday when he said platforms like Facebook were “killing people” by allowing disinformation about the coronavirus vaccine to spread online.
Mr Biden’s haunted statement limited weeks of complaints at the White House about the spread of vaccine disinformation online, even as the pace of vaccinations slows and health officials warn of the rising danger of the Delta variant.
Just before boarding Marine One for a weekend in Camp David, Maryland, Mr Biden was asked what his message was on social media platforms regarding Covid-19 disinformation.
“They kill people,” said Mr. Biden. “Look, the only pandemic we have is unvaccinated, and that – and they kill people.”
Mr. Biden spoke the day after the United States surgeon general used his first formal consultation to criticize technology and social media companies for stopping dangerous health information This represents “an urgent threat to public health”.
The Biden government has warned of the spread of misinformation about vaccines and the coronavirus from a number of sources, including politicians and news outlets. But this week White House officials went even further, selecting social media companies for allowing false information to be spread. It came after weeks of unsuccessful attempts to get Facebook to release information about the mechanisms used to combat misinformation about the vaccine, according to a person familiar with the matter.