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Online misinformation 'killing people' -Biden

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U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday blasted social media companies for allowing COVID misinformation to flourish on their platforms.

REPORTER: "On COVID misinformation - What is your message to platforms like Facebook?"

BIDEN: "They're killing people. I mean, it really. Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated and they're killing people."

Facebook has introduced rules against making specific false claims about COVID-19 and vaccines for it, and says it provides people reliable information on these topics.

Facebook on Friday said: “We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts."

Biden's comments came a day after U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued his first advisory as the nation's top doctor under President Biden… portraying such misinformation as a national health threat, and urging tech companies to tweak their algorithms to further demote false information.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said the White House was flagging problematic posts - that spread false covid claims and inaccurate vaccine information - for Facebook.

PSAKI: "We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook..."

And on Friday, she said the company is not doing enough.

REPORTER - Facebook responded yesterday after the press briefing. They say that they're removed 18 million pieces of COVID misinformation. They've connected more than 2 billion people to reliable information so does the White House find that sufficient?

PSAKI: "Clearly not, because we're talking about additional steps that should be taken." (flash) "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."

Psaki on Thursday said 12 people were responsible for almost 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. The finding was reported in May by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, but Facebook has disputed the methodology.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said COVID-19 cases are up 70% over the previous week, and the outbreaks are occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.

WALENSKY: “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

She added that 97% of people entering hospitals in the U.S. with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

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