White House says Facebook needs to work harder to censor COVID-19 misinformation

The Biden administration slammed Facebook for not doing enough to censor posts that contain misinformation about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the White House is working to flag "problematic posts" found on Facebook which spread disinformation. 

"There's about 12 people who are producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. All of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including Facebook — ones that Facebook owns," Psaki said. 

Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration is working to connect with medical experts and other influential figures to share information on social media that is sourced from scientific material in order to combat false information as well as anti-vaccine posts. 

"We're working with doctors and medical professionals to connect — to connect medical experts with popular — with popular — who are popular with their audiences with — with accurate information and boost trusted content. So we're helping get trusted content out there," Psaki said. 

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U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy also sounded the alarm for Facebook and its users to help stop the growing wave of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. 

"We need an all-of-society approach to fight misinformation. And that’s why this advisory that I issued today has recommendations for everyone," Murthy said.

Murthy asked technology companies to monitor misinformation more closely.

"We ask people to raise the bar for sharing health information by checking sources before they share, to ensure that information is backed by credible, scientific sources," Murthy added. "I think in a moment like this when we see misinformation literally costing us our loved ones, costing us lives, we can be more accountable and responsible for the information that we share," Murthy continued.

Psaki said the White House has also sent proposed changes to other social media platforms in order to further combat the spread of misinformation. 

Psaki called on Facebook to provide data for the public on the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"It's important to take faster action against harmful posts," Psaki said. 

"As you all know, information travels quite quickly on social media platforms; sometimes it's not accurate. And Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts. Posts that will be within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That's too long. The information spreads too quickly," Psaki added. 

Psaki noted that despite Facebook’s reputed efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, the company is not doing enough. 

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the White House’s remarks but it has previously introduced rules against making certain false claims about COVID-19 and its vaccines.