Facebook contests Biden’s claim that misinformation on the platform is “killing people”

Facebook fired back on Friday evening after President Biden earlier said that social media platforms are “killing people” by allowing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on their sites.

What they’re saying: “We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” a spokesperson for the tech giant said in a statement Friday.

The Facebook response followed Biden’s commentary on the South Lawn of the White House, during which he said, “[T]he only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s — they’re killing people.”

“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,” Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever said in response, ABC News reports.”More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine,” Lever added. “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has recently increased its attacks on Facebook, and the company has been under fire for COVID-related misinformation for months.

“We’re dealing with a life or death issue here, and so everybody has a role to play in making sure there’s accurate information,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier on Friday. “They’re a private sector company. They’re going to make decisions about additional steps they can take. It’s clear there are more that can be taken.”Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on social media companies Thursday to curb misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines in his first health advisory since being confirmed to the position.Murthy said vaccine misinformation is a factor in the country’s slowing vaccination rates. More than 40% of American adults are not fully vaccinated against the virus, and new COVID cases have slightly increased in part because of the rise of the Delta variant.

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