President Joe Biden giving a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

c-span.org (Fair Use)

Biden urges social media companies to ‘stop’ COVID misinformation

This isn't the first time Biden has called out social media for COVID misinformation.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Jan 13, 2022   Updated Jan 13, 2022, 1:18 pm CST

President Joe Biden urged social media companies and other media outlets to “deal with the misinformation” as the U.S. continues to grapple with a surge in the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The president made his appeal to the companies during an update on the country’s response to the pandemic on Thursday. During the update, Biden said the government will set up a website “next week” where people to order free tests that could be shipped to their home. He added that the administration is looking to high-quality make masks available to Americans for free.

But toward the end of his update, Biden signaled out social media and media companies.

“I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that is on your shows,” Biden said. “It has to stop. COVID-19 is one of the most formidable enemies America has ever faced. We have got to work together, not against each other.”

Misinformation has been an issue throughout the pandemic. Social media companies in particular have made attempts to crack down on conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID, but is still runs rampant online.

Just this week, a coalition of doctors and scientists signed an open letter urging Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform,” according to Rolling Stone.

But this isn’t the first time that Biden has called out social media in particular for COVID misinformation.

Over last summer, Biden said platforms like Facebook were “killing people” by allowing coronavirus misinformation to spread. The company aggressively defended itself and Biden eventually walked back his comments and instead criticized the so-called “Disinformation Dozen,” a group of anti-vaxxers who push an enormous amount of vaccine disinformation online.


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*First Published: Jan 13, 2022, 12:58 pm CST