(Bloomberg) – Facebook Inc. broadened its rejection of President Joe Biden’s comment that social media allowed the spread of misinformation about vaccines, saying it will not take the blame for the administration’s failure to meet its goal of vaccinating 70 % of Americans. for the 4th of July.
Biden said on Friday that social media is “killing people” by allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to spread, and said “the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated” after being asked about his message. for technology companies.
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After the social media giant said Friday that the management’s claims were “not supported by facts,” Facebook’s VP of Integrity Guy Rosen posted a blog on Saturday, using customer surveys and other actions that the company has taken as a defense. These include their data showing that 85% of US users have been vaccinated or want to be vaccinated, and how their efforts have also reduced vaccine vacillation by 50%, he said.
“At a time when Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the United States, the Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,” Rosen said. “Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed.”
Facebook has previously said it removed millions of posts from its main product and photo-sharing app Instagram for violating its policies, and increased the enforcement against repeat offenders. The administration “clearly” did not believe it was a sufficient answer to a “life and death problem,” the White House said Friday.
To detail Facebook’s actions, Rosen said more than 18 million “instances” of Covid-19 misinformation have been removed since the start of the pandemic. The social network also tagged and downgraded more than 167 million pieces of content discredited by its fact-checkers.
Still, anti-vaccine activists turned to social media platforms early in the pandemic, spilling anti-science skepticism on Facebook groups and Instagram stories and posts. The algorithms rewarded content that elicited strong emotional reactions, further amplifying misinformation ranging from vaccine toxicity to infertility risks.
Social media influencers, legitimized by their sizeable following, had a full year to cast doubt on Covid vaccines before Facebook took meaningful action. They have exploited public confusion and mixed messages from the government and health officials about everything from masks to side effects to vaccine safety. Facebook’s official stance was that it does not ban posts unless they “cause imminent harm,” a threshold that the social network said vaccine misinformation only crossed months in a global vaccination campaign.
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So far, only 55% of Americans have received a dose of the vaccine, and the rate is slowing despite efforts by the White House to encourage more people to get vaccinated, while countries like the UK and Canada have accelerated vaccination efforts.
“We employ similar tactics in the UK and Canada, which have similar Facebook usage rates to the US, and those countries have achieved more than 70% vaccinations of eligible populations,” Rosen said. “All of this suggests there is more to the US result than Facebook.”
Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. took a different approach in its response.
“As the Covid-19 pandemic evolves around the world, we will continue to do our part to elevate authorized health information,” he said in a tweet.
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