White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested Friday that people on social media “shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others” if they post “misinformation online,” namely about COVID-19 vaccines.
“So a couple of the steps that we have, you know, that could be constructive for the public health of the country are providing for Facebook or other platforms to measure and publicly share the impact of misinformation on their platform, and the audience it’s reaching, also with the public, with all of you, to create robust enforcement strategies that bridge their properties and provide transparency about rules, you shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others, if you, for providing misinformation out there,” Psaki told reporters during a White House briefing.
She added: “Taking faster action against harmful posts, as you all know, information travels quite quickly.”
When Psaki was asked about the White House’s relationship with Facebook, she said that the federal government doesn’t block anything on Facebook or other social media platforms.
“We don’t take anything down. We don’t block anything. Facebook, and any private sector company, makes decisions about what information should be on their platform,” Psaki said. “Our point is that there is information that is leading to people not taking the vaccine.”
Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other Big Tech firms have drawn condemnation over their policies around COVID-19 and what can or cannot be published.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
For months, the social media giants blocked or suppressed the reach of posts that said the CCP virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, in 2019.
But several months ago, some members of the 17-agency U.S. Intelligence Community believe that the virus did indeed originate from the lab, while some scientists and researchers have become increasingly skeptical of the CCP’s official narrative that the virus was transmitted to people via animals at a Wuhan wet market. President Joe Biden ordered a review of the lab leak hypothesis in May and said it’s premature to dismiss it.
Psaki’s Friday suggestion that social media companies ban people over posts they share on other social media websites drew widespread condemnation from commentators on social media. Some said Psaki’s comments were evidence that the Biden administration is colluding with, or outsourcing to, Big Tech firms to censor people online.
Big Tech firms have also drawn heavy criticism after their near-simultaneous suspension of accounts belonging to President Donald Trump in January, accusing Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Trump has categorically denied he incited violence, pointing to his statements to protesters during a Jan. 6 rally stating that they should remain peaceful.