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Facebook pushes back against Biden remarks on Covid-19 misinformation

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Facebook pushed back against President Joe Biden last week after he said to the media that social platforms “are killing people.” His words came after NBC News reporter Peter Alexander asked what his message was “to platforms like Facebook.” Biden then replied: “they are killing people…the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.” 

Facebook pushed back and his vice president, Guy Rosen, posted a blog that  “facts tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days.”

“At a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in America, the Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,” can be read in the document.  

According to Rosen’s post, Facebook has worked with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland on a global survey on COVID-19 symptoms, testing, and vaccination rates. “ This is the largest survey of its kind, with over 70 million total responses, and more than 170,000 responses daily across more than 200 countries and territories.” 

The results revealed that “since January, vaccine acceptance on the part of Facebook users in the US has increased by 10-15 percentage points (70% → 80-85%).” 

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” he said. “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

The comments come as the tension between Washington and Facebook grows as politicians and regulators try to contain the power large tech companies such as Facebook have. 

Biden’s most recent remarks came a day after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory saying health misinformation is an “urgent threat” to the public amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

But this is not the first time that Biden has been critical to Facebook. Before he won the presidency, he told The New York Times in January 2020 that he wasn’t a “fan” of Facebook or CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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