White House again slams Facebook, says it is still amplifying anti-vaccine content

Report reveals that the company is struggling to identify misinformation on its platforms

The White House on Wednesday slammed Facebook, claiming the social media giant continues to "amplify anti-vaccine content over accurate information" and calling it a "problem," as the Biden administration pushes individuals to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

During the press briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about a CNN report citing internal Facebook documents that reveal the company is struggling to identify misinformation on its platforms. Psaki was also asked whether the Biden administration has been in contact with the social media company.

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"I’m not going to read out private meetings or conversations we’re having in this space," Psaki said. "It is, unfortunately, not surprising for us to hear that Facebook knew of these problems, has known of the issue, possibly as early as the beginning of this pandemic."

She added: "That does not surprise us."

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Psaki reminded that U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, over the summer, labeled misinformation "a public health issue," and said he "conveyed that social media outlets are a prime channel for the trafficking of bad information, given their enormous role in our society."

"Since then, we’ve continued to see platforms regularly amplify anti-vaccine content over accurate information," Psaki continued. "That’s the basic problem, and that’s what we continue to see happen."

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Psaki's comments come after a back-and-forth between the White House and Facebook over the summer, after President Biden accused the social media giant of allowing misinformation related to coronavirus vaccines to appear on the platform.

Facebook, at the time, said they would "not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts." 

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"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," Facebook said. "The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period."

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Facebook, in February, launched a campaign to combat misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and to inform the public on where and when they can get vaccinated.