Psaki’s comments during Thursday’s press briefing after the US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s said health misinformation is ‘a serious threat to public health.’
During her comments, Psaki said the White House has increased disinformation tracking and is working with Facebook and popular influencers who can get ‘accurate information’ out to the public.
Among the critics who lashed out against the White House on Twitter and other social media outlets was journalist Glenn Greenwald, who said the ‘union of corporate and state power (is) one of the classic hallmarks of fascism.’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said they’re ‘flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,’ which riled up critics
In an eight-tweet thread posted Thursday afternoon, Greenwald said this idea that a president’s administration can remove content it deems ‘problematic’ is dangerous.
‘If you don’t find it deeply disturbing that the White House is “flagging” internet content that they deem “problematic” to their Facebook allies for removal, then you are definitionally an authoritarian. No other information is needed about you to know that,’ Greenwald tweeted.
There are hundreds of reactions to his thread, and opinions have been split.
When boiled down to their simplest forms, people arguing for cracking down on ‘medical misinformation’ say it’s important to get correct information to the public to save lives.
Others argue that outlets like Facebook shouldn’t be an arm of the government and have no right to ban or censor dissenting voices.
This is reporter Glenn Greenwald’s eight-tweet thread in reaction to Psaki’s comments about the White House wanting to flag ‘disinformation’
Dan Gainor, of Media Research Center, also ripped into Psaki and the White House by tweeting ‘being anti-vaccine is part of free speech. @PressSec is against freedom.’
John Cooper tweeted an emoji of two red light sirens and said, ‘Jen Psaki says the Biden administration is actively flagging what they deem “disinformation” about the pandemic to Facebook for censoring. What could go wrong??’
Many people have pointed out that the Wuhan lab leak was once considered a laughable, looney conspiracy theory until the last couple months when more evidence came to light that supported this COVID-19 origin theory.
Many people took to Twitter to condemn the
Psaki claims 12 people were responsible for almost 65percent of anti-vaccine disinformation on social media platform.
This was based on a finding that was reported in May by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, but Facebook has disputed the methodology, Reuters reported.
Surgeon General Murthy also raised concerns in a 22-page advisory titled ‘Confronting Health Misinformation’ that was released Thursday.
On page two, Murthy wrote, ‘I am urging all Americans to help slow the spread of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
‘Health misinformation is a serious threat to public health. It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, harm people’s health and undermine public health efforts. Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative that will require a whole-of-society effort.’
On Monday, Politico reported that Biden-allied groups – including the Democratic National Committee – planned to fact-check more aggressively.
Part of the plan, according to Politico, is working with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines sent in text messages or social media messages.
‘When we see deliberate efforts to spread misinformation, we view that as an impediment to the country’s public health and will not shy away from calling that out,’ White House spokesperson Kevin Munoz told Politico.
Psaki also criticized Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, for not working fast enough to remove ‘harmful, violative posts’ and ban the sources of the posts.
Her pointed comments about the social media giant gave the American public insight into reported tensions between Facebook and the White House.
A source familiar with the conversations between the Biden administration and Facebook representatives told CNN that White House officials believe Facebook isn’t ‘taking this very seriously, or they are hiding something.’
In a statement to Insider, Facebook that it’s working with government experts, health authorities and researchers ‘to take aggressive action against misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines to protect public health.’
The statement added that more than 18 million pieces of COVID misinformation has been removed from Facebook.