President Biden’s message to Facebook: You’re ‘killing people’

Joe Biden speaking in front of a US flag and a flag with the presidential seal.
President Joe Biden speaking at the White House. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
  • Joe Biden said platforms like Facebook were “killing people” by spreading vaccine misinformation.
  • “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people,” he said.
  • “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period,” a Facebook spokesperson told Insider.
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President Joe Biden said on Friday that platforms like Facebook were “killing people” as COVID-19 vaccine misinformation spreads on them and infections rise in several parts of the US.

“What is your message to platforms like Facebook?” NBC’s Peter Alexander asked as the president departed the White House for Camp David.

“They’re killing people,” Biden said. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.”

-The Real Facebook Oversight Board (@FBoversight) July 16, 2021

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. “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 spokesperson added: “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

Biden’s words echoed a phrase from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said earlier on Friday that COVID-19 was “becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk,” Walensky said.

She added that 97% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 had not been vaccinated.

On Thursday, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a statement that “American lives are at risk” because of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media.

“Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health,” Murthy said. “It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health, and undermine public health efforts. Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative.”