- White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday Facebook must remove misinformation quicker.
- Anthony Fauci said the “disparity in the willingness to be vaccinated” could lead to a COVID surge.
- White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain recently said Facebook is “a giant source” of vaccine misinformation.
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The White House wants Facebook to act quicker in removing posts containing vaccine misinformation.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Facebook takes too long to remove “violative posts” during a press briefing. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during the briefing that misinformation is slowing the pace of vaccinations in the US.
“Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove violative posts,” Psaki said. “Posts that will be within their policies’ removal often remain up for days. That’s too long. The information spreads too quickly.”
CNN reported meetings between the Biden administration and Facebook have been “tense” in recent weeks.
In a statement to Insider, Facebook said, “We’ve partnered with government experts, health authorities and researchers to take aggressive action against misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines to protect public health.”
The statement pointed to the more than 18 million pieces of COVID misinformation Facebook has removed, as well as “accounts that repeatedly break these rules, and connected more than 2 billion people to reliable information about COVID-19 and COVID vaccines across our apps.”
The US missed Joe Biden’s goal of giving adults at least one vaccine jab by July 4. Though vaccine hesitancy decreased since last year according to survey data, less than 60% of US adults were fully vaccinated as of July 15.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain recently said, “I’ve told Mark Zuckerberg directly that when we gather groups of people who are not vaccinated, and we ask them, ‘Why aren’t you vaccinated?’ and they tell us things that are wrong, tell us things that are untrue, and we ask them where they’ve heard that. The most common answer is Facebook.”
The White House estimates misinformation could have dire consequences: Anthony Fauci said the “disparity in the willingness to be vaccinated” could lead to a surge of the Delta variant in the US.
Facebook was not immediately available for comment.