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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Thursday to monitoring Facebook profiles and flagging “problematic” posts that spread COVID-19 misinformation.
The Biden administration asked Facebook to share information about other users’ reach and engagement with posts that have been flagged as “misinformation.”
According to Psaki’s testimony, Biden administration staff and members of his team for COVID-19 are “in regular contact” with social media platforms looking for posts containing “misinformation,” specifically about the coronavirus and pandemic vaccines.
What the Biden administration demands from Facebook on Covid-19 misinformation
“Facebook must publicly and transparently provide data on the extent of disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine – not just user response, but the extent of the disinformation and the audience it is reaching,” Psaki said. “That will help us make sure we’re providing accurate information to people.”
Además, Psaki insistió en que esos datos deben proporcionarse “no solo a los investigadores” de la Casa Blanca, sino también “al público para que sepa y comprenda lo que es exacto e inexacto”.
In addition, Psaki insisted that such data must be provided “not only to investigators” at the White House, but also “to the public so they know and understand what is accurate and inaccurate.”
The press secretary believes it is necessary for networks like Facebook to “create a robust compliance strategy” to the rules against disinformation, capable of “bridging all platforms and providing transparency about the rules” to its users. He believes this would enable faster action against “harmful posts” and help provide “quality sources of information in their algorithms”.
Psaki spoke of a list of 12 people who are producing “65% of anti-vaccine disinformation on social networks”, and that all of these people remain active on Facebook despite having been censored on other platforms. She did not take it upon herself to clarify who these 12 people are.
Social networks have a curious recent history of censoring political opinions, Donald Trump being one of the most controversial cases. Also to the media when they have touched on topics such as the hypothesis that COVID-19 could have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan.
This happened to the New York Post in February 2020, when Facebook marked one of its columns as “false information” and blocked it for more than a month. It also happened to Trump administration Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who was censored by Twitter in 2020 after attempting to publish an NYP story about Hunter Biden and his lurid relationship with Ukraine.