Biden to Facebook: Vaccine Misinformation Is Killing People

A doctor or researcher with a COVID-19 vaccine
(Image credit: sinology/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden said Friday (July 16) that Facebook was "killing people" by hosting vaccine misinformation on its social media platform.

Facebook called the comments unsupported accusations that are a distraction from its effort to save lives.

The White House this week has been pushing Big Tech to do more to weed out anti-vaccine posts and related conspiracy theories.

Asked by a reporter about what his message on misinformation was to platforms "like Facebook," the President responded: "They're killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they're killing people."

He walked away before reporters could follow up.

Also Read: Sen. Josh Hawley Slams White House Flagging of COVID-19 Online Misinformation

While the rhetoric was harsher, the message was the same that was being delivered by the Surgeon General and press secretary Jen Psaki this week.

At the Friday press conference, Psaki said that the President's concern was "the number of people who are dying around the country because they are getting misinformation ['traveling on social media platforms'] that is leading them not to get a vaccine."

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts," said Facebook of the President's comments. "The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which 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 save lives. Period.”  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.