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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

Sep 21, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from the Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.

Oversight Board calls for more Facebook transparency

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Facebook Oversight Board on Tuesday called on the social media giant to "commit to transparency" in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report last week that millions of high-profile users get special treatment by content moderators.

Why it matters: Although initially funded by Facebook, the Oversight Board operates independently as a kind of Supreme Court for the platform. The company has agreed to obey its rulings on specific content disputes, but the board's broader policy advice is strictly on a "recommendation" basis.

Sep 22, 2021 - Technology

Facebook says Apple’s ad changes are hurting its business

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Wednesday that changes to Apple’s new privacy terms will continue to cause headwinds for its ads business in the third quarter.

Why it matters: Facebook doesn’t typically provide these types of updates outside of earnings calls. The update signals to investors that the company is seeing numbers in the current quarter that reinforce previous warnings about impact from Apple’s changes.