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Mark Zuckerberg speaks virtually during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees hearing on March 25. Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Facebook fired back on Friday evening after President Biden earlier said that social media platforms are "killing people" by allowing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on their sites.

What they're saying: "We will not be distracted by accusations which aren't supported by the facts," a spokesperson for the tech giant said in a statement Friday.

The Facebook response followed Biden's commentary on the South Lawn of the White House, during which he said, "[T]he only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that’s — they’re killing people."

  • "The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet," Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever said in response, ABC News reports.
  • "More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine," Lever added. "The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period."

The big picture: The Biden administration has recently increased its attacks on Facebook, and the company has been under fire for COVID-related misinformation for months.

  • "We’re dealing with a life or death issue here, and so everybody has a role to play in making sure there’s accurate information," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier on Friday. "They’re a private sector company. They’re going to make decisions about additional steps they can take. It’s clear there are more that can be taken."
  • Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on social media companies Thursday to curb misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines in his first health advisory since being confirmed to the position.

Go deeper

GE to mandate COVID vaccinations for U.S. workers

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

General Electric will require all of its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing President Biden's executive order for federal contractors, the company confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: General Electric is the latest in a slew of major companies to mandate the vaccine for workers, following in the footsteps of American Airlines, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, among others.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Puerto Rico leads U.S. COVID vaccination rates

A mass vaccination event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 31. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The island has managed to accomplish such feats amid frequent power outages, earthquakes and high dependence on imports of health technologies from outside the region.