After saying that Facebook is killing people, Joe Biden is now trying to say that Facebook is not actually killing people. Let’s be honest, though. Is Facebook actually killing anyone? Of course it is not. What they are doing is exposing people to sizable amounts of misinformation that could potentially kill them. That’s not a huge difference but it means everything from a legal standpoint.
The following exchange is tough to mistake, though:
Reporter: “What’s your message to platforms like Facebook?”
President Biden: “They’re killing people.”
Reporter: "What's your message to platforms like Facebook?"
President Biden: "They're killing people." pic.twitter.com/jrAvQpG7i0
— The Hill (@thehill) July 16, 2021
It did not take long before Facebook was ready to smack Biden upside the head. He’s not being a good corporate stooge and bowing to the will of his true masters! That’s why he had to double back and let them know that he does not believe that Facebook is killing people in a literal sense. It’s just their refusal to remove harmful misinformation, that’s all.
Nothing more to see here, folks! “In private exchanges the Surgeon General has praised our work, including our efforts to inform people about COVID-19. They knew what they were doing. The White House is looking for scapegoats for missing their vaccine goals,” said one Facebook official. You can see why Facebook is so upset.
FACEBOOK official: "In private exchanges the Surgeon General has praised our work, including our efforts to inform people about COVID-19. They knew what they were doing. The White House is looking for scapegoats for missing their vaccine goals.”
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) July 16, 2021
In their minds, they are removing enough of the misinformation to slow down the anti-vax crowd. For their efforts, they were rewarded by being called murderers. Jen Psaki’s recent comments about Facebook also had to be irksome, as she told the rest of the country that they have been leaning on Facebook in private.
That’s not going to make the millions of conservatives that use Facebook very happy. Why would they want to use a site that is catering to their liberals over all else? There are also sure to be some GOP politicians who are going to use this as a cudgel to keep hammering away at Big Tech. They are not going to miss out on the chance to rally their bases at Biden’s expense.
Facebook had a lot more to say about the current situation, as their VP of Integrity issued an even longer statement about all of the positives:
“Since January, vaccine acceptance on the part of Facebook users in the US has increased by 10-15 percentage points (70% → 80-85%) and racial and ethnic disparities in acceptance have shrunk considerably (some of the populations that had the lowest acceptance in January had the highest increases since). The results of this survey are public and we’ve shared them — alongside other data requested by the administration — with the White House, the CDC and other key partners in the federal government.
The data shows that 85% of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19. President Biden’s goal was for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed…
Since the pandemic began, more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook. This includes more than 3.3 million Americans using our vaccine finder tool to find out where to get a COVID-19 vaccine and make an appointment to do so.”
Facebook and Biden seem to be simpatico on the idea of reducing misinformation but why should Facebook feel the need to kowtow to his demands when they are already doing all that they can? “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,” said Biden, as a means of offering a clarification for his remarks.
President Biden clarifies his statement about Facebook: "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." pic.twitter.com/GXfZOHxWKl
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 19, 2021
From the looks of it, Biden is taking the same tack that most progressives take in these instances. They love to equate free speech with violent conduct, even when the situation does not call for it. The fact that Biden is showing at least some small level of contrition means that he was probably put in his place by the powers that be at Facebook. Otherwise, he’d have thrown one of his signature tantrums.