White House blames Facebook and YouTube for spreading vaccine misinformation

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – The White House has YouTube, not just Facebook, on its list of social media platforms officials say are responsible for an alarming spread of misinformation about COVID vaccines and are not doing enough to stop it, sources familiar with the administration’s thinking said.

The criticism comes just a week after President Joe Biden called Facebook and other social media companies “killers” for failing to slow the spread of misinformation about vaccines. He has since softened his tone.

A senior administration official said one of the key problems is “inconsistent enforcement.” YouTube – a unit of Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google – and Facebook get to decide what qualifies as misinformation on their platforms. But the results have left the White House unhappy.

“Facebook and YouTube… are the judge, the jury and the executioner when it comes to what is going on in their platforms,” an administration official said, describing their approach to COVID misinformation. “They get to grade their own homework.”

Some of the main pieces of vaccine misinformation the Biden administration is fighting include that the COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective, false claims that they carry microchips and that they hurt women’s fertility, the official said.

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Source: Reuters