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President Biden attempted to clarify comments he made last week about Facebook, saying on Monday that the company itself is not "killing people" — but those who post misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines are.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has ratcheted up pressure on social media companies, especially Facebook, to increase their efforts to eliminate misinformation on vaccines and the virus from their platforms.

  • Biden last week said that social media platforms are "killing people" by allowing such misinformation to persist on their websites.
  • Facebook defended its efforts to promote factual information about vaccines, saying the president's comments were not "supported by the facts."

What he's saying: "It was pointed out that on Facebook, of all the misinformation, 60% of the misinformation came from 12 individuals. ... Facebook isn't killing people, these 12 people who are out there giving misinformation ... [are] killing people," Biden said Monday, referring to a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate

  • "My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally that somehow I'm saying Facebook is killing people, that they would do something about the misinformation. There's outrageous misinformation about the vaccine. That's what I meant," he added.

The big picture: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy last week said vaccine misinformation proliferating on social media is a factor in the country's slowing vaccination rates, labeling misinformation as an urgent public health threat.

Go deeper: Misinformation is just one part of a vaccine trust problem

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 26, 2021 - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Oct 26, 2021 - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.

Tech's message to the Hill: We're not Facebook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat will appear before Congress Tuesday with a key priority: distinguishing their practices from Facebook's.

Why it matters: Facebook is under attack, and its tech peers don't want to get caught in the crossfire as lawmakers mull legislation to rein in the company.