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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

Oct 19, 2021 - Technology

Facebook doubling down on curated News Tab

Facebook's VP of global news partnerships Campbell Brown. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook is looking to introduce more news products for its News Tab in coming months, including more curated collections around big events and breaking news, its VP of global news partnerships Campbell Brown told Axios.

Why it matters: The News Tab, a separate destination for news on Facebook from publishers selected by the tech giant, has helped the company address regulatory scrutiny that it doesn't do enough to combat misinformation.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 19, 2021 - Technology

Treating tech giants as nation-states

Tech companies are creating not just the products of the future, but also the future's infrastructure and rules, global analyst Ian Bremmer writes in an article for Foreign Affairs.

Why it matters: That means "it is time to start thinking of the biggest technology companies as similar to states," Bremmer argues.

1 hour ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.