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Monday, August 2, 2021

Biden softens criticism of Facebook after accusing company of ‘killing people’

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden softened his criticism of Facebook on Monday over the spread of false information about the coronavirus vaccine on the platform, saying it was the people posting the false information who were endangering people’s lives, not the company itself.

Following remarks on the economy Monday, Biden was asked what he meant by his comments about Facebook on Friday, when he told reporters “they’re killing people” after being asked about his message to the company on the spread of misinformation.

Biden said the remarks Friday were in response to a report he had recently seen that identified a dozen Facebook users as being responsible for the majority of false information about the vaccine.

“Facebook isn’t killing people, these 12 people are out there giving misinformation,” Biden said Monday. “Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It is killing people. It’s bad information. My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally that somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing people, that they would do something about the misinformation, the outrageous misinformation about the vaccine. That’s what I meant.”

Biden said he isn’t sure if Facebook has done enough to address the issue and wasn’t looking to try to hold social media platform accountable.

“I’m trying to make people look at themselves, look in the mirror, think about that misinformation going to your son, your daughter, your relative, someone you love,” Biden said. “That’s what I’m asking.”

Facebook took issue with Biden’s comment on Friday and accused the administration of finger pointing and making accusations not supported by the facts.

Shannon Pettypiece

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