Vaccine misinformation “aided and abetted” by social media, Murthy says

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Sunday that COVID-19 vaccine misinformation is “aided and abetted” by social media platforms, further reinforcing the Biden administration’s position.

Why it matters: Facebook and the White House have been engaging in an ongoing back-and-forth that was amplified Friday when President Biden said that social media platforms are “killing people” by allowing vaccine misinformation on their sites.

“[T]he only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s — they’re killing people,” the president said on Friday.Facebook released a statement disputing the president’s remarks, saying the accusations were “not supported by the facts.” The social media giant doubled-down on Saturday with an additional statement saying, in part: “‘We have been doing our part.”

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.

Murthy had called on social media companies on Thursday to curb misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines in his first health advisory since being confirmed to the position.

What he’s saying: “This is about the health of Americans and the reality is that misinformation is still spreading like wildfire in our country, aided and abetted by technology platforms,” Murthy said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I’m asking these companies to step up and take responsibility for what’s happening on their side. I’m asking them to look out for the people across this country who — whose lives depend on having access to accurate information,” he added.

Go deeper: Facebook contests Biden’s misinformation claim

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