Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States, recently criticized Facebook and other major social media companies with some harsh words.
“They’re killing people,” Biden stated when an NBC News reporter asked him about the dissemination of misinformation about COVID-19 and its vaccines on social media platforms. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” he continued.
President Joe Biden said on Saturday that social media platforms are “killing people” by permitting coronavirus vaccination misinformation on their platforms, but Facebook claimed that vaccine acceptance among its users has actually increased in the US.
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, wrote in a blog post that data shows vaccine apprehension among US users has decreased by 50%, and 85 percent of users have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Rosen also brought up the Biden administration’s nearly failed target of vaccinating 70% of Americans by July 4, claiming that Facebook was “not the reason this goal was missed.”
Facebook was plainly offended by these claims, and a representative said, “We will not be sidetracked by accusations that aren’t supported by evidence.” Earlier today, the social media behemoth published a blog post detailing its active role in countering misinformation as well as its overall engagement in the fight against COVID-19.
Here are the steps Facebook claims it has taken to help:
- Since the pandemic began, more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook. This includes more than 3.3 million Americans using our vaccine finder tool to find out where to get a COVID-19 vaccine and make an appointment to do so.
- More than 50% of people in the US on Facebook have already seen someone use the COVID-19 vaccine profile frames, which we developed in collaboration with the US Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC. From what we have seen, when people see a friend share they have been vaccinated, it increases their perceptions that vaccines are safe.
- We’re continuing to encourage everyone to use these tools to show their friends they’ve been vaccinated. For those who are hesitant, hearing from a friend who’s been vaccinated is undoubtedly more impactful than hearing from a large corporation or the federal government.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic we have removed over 18 million instances of COVID-19 misinformation.
- We have also labeled and reduced the visibility of more than 167 million pieces of COVID-19 content debunked by our network of fact-checking partners so fewer people see it and — when they do — they have the full context.
According to surveys conducted by Facebook in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland since April of last year, all of this has aided. According to the company, approximately 85 percent of Facebook users in the US have been or are willing to get vaccinated, a figure that has increased significantly since the end of last year.
The press secretary encouraged Facebook and other social media companies to combat misinformation by publicly releasing data on the impact of misinformation on their services, encouraging quality information sources in their feed algorithm, and responding to harmful content more quickly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Covid-19 deaths are on the rise again in the United States, as the delta variant affects largely unvaccinated areas of the country. Over the last week, the US has recorded an average of 530,000 vaccinations per day.