Jul 23, 2021 11 min read

"They're killing people": Was Biden right about Facebook?

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Wiser! #24 (Premium): Was President Biden right to lay the blame on Facebook for the high levels of anti-vax misinformation? For the Wiser! Newsletter, Rick Huckstep goes looking for the data points.

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President Joe Biden

On Friday 16th July, a reporter asked President Biden, "what's your message to platforms like Facebook?".

Biden thought for a second or two: "you're killing people. The only pandemic we have is amongst the unvaccinated."

On Monday, the President backed away from the words.

When asked by CNN to explain his words from Friday, Biden said, "Facebook isn't killing people, these 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It's killing people. It's bad information,"

Biden was referring to data from the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate in a report published in March. The report, called "The Disinformation Dozen", listed a dozen people on Facebook as the super-spreaders of anti-vaccine misinformation, accounting for 73% of anti-vax misinformation.

The March study analyzed content on social media that was shared or posted over 812,000 times between February and March. They uncovered how a tiny group of determined anti-vaxxers was responsible for the vast majority of vaccine disinformation.

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