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Biden tells Fb others "kill individuals" by carrying COVID misinformation

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© Reuters. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press conference at the White House in Washington, USA, on July 16, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

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By Nandita Bose and Elizabeth Culliford

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden said Friday social media platforms like Facebook are "killing people" for allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to be posted on their platform as the government continued to criticize the company.

“You kill people. … Look, the only pandemic we have is unvaccinated. And they kill people, "Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about misinformation and what his message was on social media platforms as well Facebook Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 is.

COVID-19 misinformation spread to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc. on YouTube during the pandemic. Researchers and lawmakers have long accused Facebook of failing to monitor harmful content on its platforms.

The company has put in place rules against specific false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines and says it is providing people with reliable information on these issues.

"We will not be distracted by allegations that are not supported by the facts," said Facebook spokesman Kevin McAlister on Friday. “The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook is more than any other place on the internet.

“More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook is helping to save lives. Period, ”he said.

Twitter and YouTube did not respond to requests for comments.

The delta variant of the coronavirus is the predominant strain worldwide today, accompanied by an increase in deaths in the United States almost exclusively among unvaccinated people, US officials said on Friday.

American cases of COVID-19 https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/united-states are up 70% and deaths are up 26% from the previous week. with outbreaks in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.

On the previous Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki also criticized Facebook.

“Obviously there are steps that they have taken. They are a private company, "Psaki said at a White House briefing. “There are additional steps you can take. It is clear that there are more that can be taken. "

On Thursday she told https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-surgeon-general-warns-over-covid-19-misinformation-2021-07-15 that the Biden administration was in regular contact with Facebook and flagged problematic posts.

Psaki said 12 people were responsible for nearly 65% ​​of the anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. The finding was reported in May by the Washington and London-based non-profit Center to Combat Digital Hate, but Facebook has denied the method.

U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy has also sounded the alarm over the growing wave of misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. On Thursday, he said it was making it harder to fight the pandemic and save lives.

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