An unnamed Facebook official doubled down on criticism of President Joe Biden Friday after his administration began waging a war against technology companies this week blaming them for spreading alleged misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines.
What is the background?
While outside the White House on Friday, a reporter asked Biden about his message for "platforms like Facebook" regarding alleged COVID-19 misinformation.
"They're killing people," Biden said. "The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they're killing people."
President Joe Biden said social media platforms ‘are killing people’ after the White House criticized Facebook for… https://t.co/SOLP9CYtLv— Reuters (@Reuters)1626468600.0
Biden's accusation followed White House press secretary Jen Psaki admitting the White House is taking action against what the Biden administration deems "problematic posts" on social media about the pandemic.
"In terms of actions ... that we have taken, or we're working to take, I should say, from the federal government, we've increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General's office," Psaki said Thursday.
"We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation," she added.
Psaki later denied the Biden administration is "spying" on any particular person, but said individuals who are banned from one social media platform for sharing alleged misinformation should be banned from other social media platforms.
"You shouldn't be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation," Psaki said Friday.
What did the official say?
The Facebook official, whom NBC media reporter Dylan Byers indicated relays the sentiment of Facebook leaders, claimed the Biden administration is using Facebook as a "scapegoat" after failing to deliver on Biden's vaccine promises.
"In private exchanges the Surgeon General has praised our work, including our efforts to inform people about COVID-19. They knew what they were doing. The White House is looking for scapegoats for missing their vaccine goals," the official said.
FACEBOOK official: "In private exchanges the Surgeon General has praised our work, including our efforts to inform… https://t.co/jRMxPtlpC1— Dylan Byers (@Dylan Byers)1626478632.0
The accusation followed Facebook releasing an official statement that condemned Biden's remarks.
"We will not be distracted by accusations which aren't supported by the facts," that statement said. "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."
What was the vaccine goal?
When Biden entered office, he promised that 70% of Americans adults would receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by July 4. The administration fell millions short of that goal, CBS News reported.