White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Jen Psaki on Friday called a Fox News reporter’s question “loaded and inaccurate.”
The reporter, Peter Doocy, had asked whether the White House was spying on Facebook accounts.
Psaki rejected the claim, saying that the profiles are public.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday dismissed a Fox News reporter’s claim that the Biden administration is “spying” on Facebook accounts that spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
“For how long has the administration been spying on people’s Facebook profiles looking for vaccine misinformation?” Fox correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki, referring to recent reporting that the White House has recommended that social media companies censor accounts spreading misinformation about public health.
Psaki interrupted Doocy, calling his question “loaded and inaccurate.” She argued that the accounts are publicly accessible and therefore the administration isn’t “spying” on them.
“This is publicly open information, people sharing information online, just as you are all reporting information on your news stations,” she said.
Independent researchers have found that small groups of people account for the overwhelming majority of anti-vaccine misinformation on social platforms like Facebook. In March, a report from the advocacy nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate linked up to 73% of false or misleading anti-vaccine posts on Facebook to just 12 individuals. The company has since said it’s removed some accounts and public pages tied to those individuals.
Doocy pressed Psaki on whether the people behind those 12 accounts know that the White House is “going through their profile.”
Psaki reiterated that “these are people who are sharing information on a public platform.”
“There’s no secret list,” she added.
Psaki then shifted the conversation toward the importance of tackling vaccine misinformation online, saying that it is contributing to the ongoing COVID-19 death toll.
“Our biggest concern here, and I frankly think it should be your biggest concern, is the number of people who are dying around the country because they’re getting misinformation that is leading them to not take a vaccine,” she said.
The administration is flagging false information, including that COVID-19 vaccines impact fertility, to social media companies and urging them to censor it, Psaki added.
“We want to know that the social media platforms are taking steps to address it, that is inaccurate, false information,” she said.
-Acyn (@Acyn) July 16, 2021
-Acyn (@Acyn) July 16, 2021
-The Recount (@therecount) July 16, 2021
Shortly after the press conference, reporters questioned President Joe Biden about vaccine misinformation on Facebook. Asked for a message to social media companies, Biden replied: “They’re killing people.”
-Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 16, 2021
Facebook announced in February that it plans to crack down on vaccine misinformation. The company said accounts would be subject to removal if they spread false or debunked claims. The social media platform acknowledged that “there’s still a long road ahead” but its “focused on supporting health leaders and public officials in their work to …read more
Source:: Business Insider