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President Biden sparked a backlash on social media on Friday after accusing Facebook of “killing people” as critics raised major concerns about the White House’s partnership with big tech companies to combat coronavirus “misinformation” which triggered freedom of expression.
Biden’s comments went viral after a reporter asked him what his message was to “platforms like Facebook” on the subject of “COVID misinformation”.
“They kill people,” replied Biden. “The only pandemic we have is unvaccinated and they are killing people.”
The president’s exaggerated rhetoric has been criticized on Twitter.
“@POTUS is right about Big Tech’s role, he’s just pointing a finger at the wrong problem,” Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis. responds. “It is their suppression and censorship of early treatment that has cost lives. Social media should have been an open forum for solutions, instead it has become a tool for Big Brother.”
“Are social media companies also guilty of killing people for allowing content that encourages people to get overweight, consume fatty junk food, content that glorifies cigarette smoking and heavy drinking, and a sedentary lifestyle?” Journalist Glenn Greenwald wondered.
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“This is authoritarian nonsense,” said Ben Shapiro.
“Every corrupt regime since the beginning of time has called its citizen silence a common good,” wrote Erielle Davidson of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.
“Wow, I’m critical of FB sometimes, but I didn’t accuse her of murder. This is what FB teams up with. Brilliant, ”wrote American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp, beating the tech giant.
Facebook released a statement on Friday apparently objecting to Biden’s testimony, arguing that the company is actually saving lives, not quitting it.
“We do not allow ourselves to be distracted by allegations that are not supported by the facts,” Facebook said in a statement. “The fact is, more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, 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 helps save lives. Point.”
Biden’s remarks came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki made her own headlines about the Biden government’s efforts to “flag” “misinformation” on Facebook in the fight to vaccinate more Americans.
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“That’s why we regularly make sure social media platforms are aware of the latest dangerous public health narratives that we and many other Americans see on all social and traditional media,” said Psaki. “And we’re working to work with them to better understand how social media platforms are enforced.”
She added, “As you all know, information travels pretty quickly. When they are up there for days. When people see them you know it’s hard to put them back in a box and of course the quality promotes information algorithms, I don’t know how they work, but they all know how they work. “