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Biden: Social media platforms are ‘killing people’ with misinformation | Health Info

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden said on Friday that social media companies are “killing people” by failing to monitor disinformation on their platforms about COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden’s comments came a day after U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy said vaccine misinformation was a threat to public health, and U.S. officials said death and serious illness from the virus are almost entirely preventable with vaccines.

Biden, who asked if he had a message for platforms like Facebook where false or misleading information about coronavirus vaccines has spread, told reporters: “They are killing people.”

“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” he said.

Speaking on Thursday, Murthy said disinformation about COVID-19, considered an “infodemic” by the World Health Organization, was deadly.

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“Disinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to the health of our country,” Murthy said in a speech Thursday at the White House. “We need to fight disinformation as a nation. Lives depend on it.

Given the role the internet plays in spreading fake health information, Murthy said technology companies and social media platforms need to make significant changes to their products and software to reduce the spread of false information while increasing access to authoritative factual sources.

Too often, he said, platforms are built to encourage, not counter, the spread of disinformation.

“We are asking them to step up,” Murthy said. “We cannot wait any longer for them to take aggressive action.”

Facebook spokesman Dani Lever responded: “We will not be distracted by accusations that are not supported by facts. The point is, more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other. other place on the internet. Over 3.3 million Americans have also used our Vaccine Finder to find out where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook helps save lives. Period. “

Twitter posted on its platform: “As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves around the world, we will continue to do our part to elevate authoritative health information. “

AP writer Barbara Ortutay in New York contributed to this report.

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