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White House Slams Facebook for ‘Inadequate’ Steps to Stem Vaccine Misinformation

© REUTERS / Stephen LamAttendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose
Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.07.2021
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, social media platforms have been riddled with misinformation and disinformation campaigns regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus and vaccines that have been cleared for public use by the US government. However, despite efforts to curb said posts, tech giants have struggled to completely remove false claims.
The White House has yet again slammed efforts taken on by social media giant Facebook to clamp down on misinformation posts, noting that the platform simply is not doing enough to do away with false claims about COVID-19 or related vaccines. 
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a Friday briefing that the Silicon Valley company needed to enforce more action to rid the social media platform of misinformation.
"Obviously there are steps they have taken. They're a private sector company. There are additional steps they can take," Psaki remarked. "It's clear that there are more that can be taken."
"You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others if you’ve provided misinformation," she underscored. 
Psaki's Friday commentary largely echoed stern remarks the press secretary made during the Thursday briefing, when she stated that Facebook needs to "move more quickly to remove harmful violative" posts about COVID-19 and the US' ongoing vaccine push.
At the time, Psaki detailed to reporters that the White House is currently working to flag "problematic posts" found on Facebook, many of which are being produced by "12 people" disseminating "65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms."
"All of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including Facebook - ones that Facebook owns," she said during the Thursday briefing. The Mark Zuckerberg-headed platform also owns the popular photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging platform WhatsApp.
However, Psaki is not the only Biden administration official sounding off on Facebook's lacking efforts. In fact, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy addressed reporters on Thursday and issued an "urgent threat" advisory against health misinformation, saying that, simply put, "Americans lives are at risk" and misinformation efforts are making it much more difficult to combat the pandemic.
Facebook has been revving up its attempts to stamp out misinformation and disinformation campaigns for some years now, with efforts kicking into high gear with the recent election cycles and the onset of the pandemic. Following Psaki's Thursday critiques, Facebook released a statement indicating that they have removed "more than 18 million pieces of COVID misinformation," including accounts that repeatedly broke rules.
The company previously indicated that its measures to halt misinformation included the use of machine learning to sift out posts detailing false news and tapping the use of third-party fact-checkers to review content. More recently, Facebook launched a "Together Against COVID-19 Misinformation" initiative to reduce false vaccine claims, and hike up posts with accurate information.
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