July 18, 2021
The Biden administration recently admitted that it is working with Big Tech to censor and remove so-called “problematic content.” In a July 15 press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the administration worked closely with Facebook and other social media platforms to flag problematic posts. Psaki’s remarks bolstered claims that the government and Big Tech collaborated to censor contrary opinions under the guise of “misinformation.”
During the press conference, Psaki answered a query regarding technology firms being called to exercise more aggression in policing misinformation. “We are in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff. [This] is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” she said.
The press secretary also cited a number of actions the federal government has done to combat misinformation about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). According to Psaki, the federal government “increased disinformation research and tracking” within the Office of the Surgeon General and flagged “problematic posts … that spread disinformation.”
She also added that the federal government worked to connect medical experts and influences to promote “accurate information” and boost “trusted content.” Psaki said: “We’re helping get trusted content out there.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy also attended the July 15 press conference. When asked if misinformation was the No. 1 reason why people are not getting vaccinated, he answered that it was only one of several reasons. “What we know from polls … is that two-thirds of people who are not vaccinated either believe common myths about the COVID-19 vaccine or think some of those myths might be true,” Murthy replied.
The surgeon general called on social media companies to intensify their censorship of purported COVID-19 misinformation. “We expect more from our technology companies. We’re asking them to monitor misinformation more closely … [and] consistently take action against misinformation super-spreaders on their platforms,” Murthy said. He also called on news organizations to “proactively address the public’s questions” without allowing health misinformation to seep through.