Facebook on Saturday refuted remarks made by President Joe Biden that social media platforms are “killing people” by allowing coronavirus vaccine misinformation on their services and argued that vaccine acceptance among its users has actually risen in the U.S.
In a blog post, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, pointed to data suggesting that vaccine hesitancy among U.S. its users has declined by 50%, and 85% of users said they have been or would like to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
“These and other facts tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days,” Rosen wrote.
Rosen also pointed to the Biden administration’s narrowly missed goal to vaccinate 70% of Americans by July 4, arguing that Facebook “is not the reason this goal was missed.”
The response from Facebook comes after the president, on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, was asked what his message was to companies like Facebook with respect to Covid misinformation. In response to the question, Biden responded: “They’re killing people.”
“I mean they really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s — they’re killing people,” the president said, echoing earlier comments from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Psaki, at a news briefing last week, said the Biden administration was flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread misinformation, including false information that the Covid-19 vaccine causes infertility.
The press secretary urged Facebook and other social media companies to address misinformation, including publicly sharing data regarding the impact of misinformation on their services, promoting quality information sources in their feed algorithm, and taking faster action against harmful posts.
Deaths from Covid-19 are increasing again in the U.S. as the delta variant affects largely unvaccinated pockets of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. is reporting an average of 530,000 vaccinations each day over the past week.
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