White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said on Tuesday that social media companies should be held accountable for publishing misleading information on the COVID vaccine.
She also said the administration is reviewing Section 230, a section of the law that gives tech companies blanket legal protections for content posted on their platforms.
White House comms director Kate Bedingfield said social media companies should be held accountable for publishing misleading info on vaccine
‘Social media companies have a responsibility,’ Bedingfield said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, echoing a message that has come out of the White House this week as they try to raise the vaccination rate.
She confirmed the administration is reviewing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
‘We’re reviewing that and certainly they should be held accountable. I think you heard the president speak very aggressively about this,’ she said. ‘It is also the responsibility of the people creating the content. Again I go back to there are conservative news outlets creating irresponsible content sharing misinformation about the virus that’s getting shared on these platforms. So it is a big and complicated ecosystem and everybody bears responsibility.’
The Communications Decency Act, which sets the laws governing the internet, was written in 1996 when companies like Google and Facebook didn’t exist. Tech companies are fighting to keep the blanket protections provided by the law as there is a rising call to increase regulation of them.
Section 230 is credited with allowing the modern internet to exist.
Twitter and Facebook, in particular, are heavily dependent on Section 230 to build their businesses and boost their profits. Both companies have increased their internal regulations of user content this election year in the face of the growing threat of federal regulation.
The White House is pushing back against vaccine misinformation as COVID cases are on the rise across the United States. The U.S. recorded 52,111 new cases on Monday with a seven-day rolling average of 34,682, which is a 224 percent increase from the 10,678 average recorded three weeks ago.
Nearly every state – aside from Montana and Iowa – and the District of Columbia have seen infections rise in the last week, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
The U.S. recorded 52,111 new COVID-19 cases on Monday with a seven-day rolling average of 34,682, which is a 224% increase from the 10,678 average recorded three weeks ago
Nearly every state – aside from Montana and Iowa – and the District of Columbia have seen infections rise in the last week
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Monday walked back a bit of his tough talk on Facebook. He insisted the company ‘isn’t killing people’ and instead blamed them for allowing 12 people to spread the majority of online vaccine misinformation.
‘Facebook isn’t killing people,’ Biden said. He stepped back remarks he made on Friday.
‘These 12 people are out there giving misinformation, anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it,’ he continued. ‘It’s killing people. It’s bad information.’
‘My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally,’ Biden said, ‘that they would do something.’
Biden also assured ‘we are not in a battle with Facebook.’
Last week, when Biden was asked if he had a message for Facebook, he responded: ‘They’re killing people. I mean it really. Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.’
Facebook pushed back against that in a statement released Saturday, lashing out at the administration for ‘blaming a handful of American social media companies’ for the declining vaccination rate.
‘While social media plays an important role in society, it is clear that we need a whole of society approach to end this pandemic,’ Facebook’s vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen, wrote in a corporate blog post.
The White House’s top public health official also said on Sunday morning that Facebook was ‘costing’ American lives by not combating misinformation.
President Joe Biden did a u-turn on Monday by saying ‘Facebook isn’t killing people’ and pleading that CEO Mark Zuckerberg ‘instead of taking it personally… do something’ to combat misinformation surrounding the coronavirus vaccine
‘We know that health misinformation harms people’s health. It costs them their lives,’ Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told CNN. ‘I have seen that as a doctor over the years, as patients have struggled with health misinformation.’
‘And here’s the key thing to remember,’ he added when speaking with State of the Union host Dana Bash, ‘health misinformation takes away our freedom and our power to make decisions for us and for our families. And that’s a problem.’
‘The platforms have to recognize that they have played a major role in the increase in speed and scale with which misinformation is spreading.’