Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly working directly with tech giants to censor content which hampers vaccination efforts
A senior administration official said that the White House has been reaching out to social media companies including Facebook and Twitter to root out COVID misinformation and get their help to stop it from going viral.
Disinformation that causes vaccine hesitancy is going to be a huge obstacle to getting everyone vaccinated and there are no larger players in that than the social media platforms,” the official told Reuters, adding that “We are talking to them… so they understand the importance of misinformation and disinformation and how they can get rid of it quickly.“
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RT reports: The White House previously acknowledged working with tech giants like Facebook and Google on the issue, but direct engagement was not confirmed, Reuters said.
The Biden administration wants digital platforms to suppress content that can result in events like the anti-vaccination protest at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in late January, the source said. The arena has been repurposed as a drive-in mass vaccination site, one of the largest in the US, after being used for Covid-19 testing since May.
Police shut it down for about an hour on January 30, after around 50 protesters gathered at the entrance, decrying a “Covid scam” and demanding an end to lockdown in California. The event went off peacefully and was rebuked by state officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom – whom the protesters wanted to be recalled, according to one of the signs they carried.
According to Reuters, the protest was organized on Facebook through a page that “promotes debunked claims about the coronavirus pandemic, masks and immunization.” The source said the Biden administration wants to make sure that such material “does not start trending on such platforms and become a broader movement.”
The US is undergoing a period of record-low public trust in traditional media and widespread disillusionment in the two-party political system. The institutional crisis was aggravated by the economic damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic and has sent many people looking for answers to other sources. There is no shortage of these online, offering a simple and inaccurate explanation fitting anyone’s biases.
One could argue that the US establishment has long been among the leading peddlers of such misinformation. Democratic politicians and left-leaning journalists have been for years telling people aggravated by Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 that it happened due to his “collusion” with Russia. The conspiracy theory was never substantiated by actual evidence, but remains as popular as ever, as evidenced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite saying that with Trump, “all roads lead to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”
Joe Biden was elected president on a promise to mend rifts left by his predecessor and show competence in handling the Covid-19 crisis.