Facebook is on the defense as President Joe Biden’s said this week that Facebook is “killing people” by allowing misinformation about coronavirus and vaccines to spread on its platform.
“The data shows that 85% of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” wrote Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen. “President Biden’s goal was for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed.”
White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki also said on Friday that more efforts need to be made to ban certain people from social media.
Psaki said once social media accounts are banned from one platform for spreading Covid-19 or vaccine “misinformation,” they should be expelled from all others simultaneously.
The previous day, Psaki had said the White House is pressuring Facebook over the spread of misinformation.
“We are regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives dangerous to public health that we and many other Americans are seeing across all of social and traditional media. We work to engage with them to better understand the enforcement of social media platform policy,” she said.
Psaki said social media companies should “create robust enforcement strategies that bridge their properties and provide transparency about rules. You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others if you are for providing misinformation out there.”
Rosen wrote on the company blog: “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. While social media plays an important role in society, it is clear that we need a whole of society approach to end this pandemic. And facts — not allegations — should help inform that effort. The fact is that vaccine acceptance among Facebook users in the US has increased. These and other facts tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days.”
Rosen said that according to the company’s surveys, U.S. citizens’ vaccine hesitancy has declined by 50 percent; and Americans are becoming more accepting of vaccines every day.
“Since January, vaccine acceptance on the part of Facebook users in the US has increased by 10-15 percentage points (70% → 80-85%) and racial and ethnic disparities in acceptance have shrunk considerably (some of the populations that had the lowest acceptance in January had the highest increases since). The results of this survey are public and we’ve shared them — alongside other data requested by the administration — with the White House, the CDC and other key partners in the federal government,” Rosen wrote.