Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg.
It wasn’t enough that your company tops America’s most hated companies of 2020 list. Now the President of the United States has declared you Public Health Enemy No.
As much as anything, President Biden’s recent attack on Facebook reflects his growing frustration with the social media giant’s refusal to be responsible for news and social discourse. The comments should also serve as a warning to the tech industry that unless it takes significant steps to clean up its act, a day of reckoning is on the horizon.
Biden on Friday accused Facebook of “murdering people” by not confronting the ubiquitous flow of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform. Facebook on Saturday. pushed back in blog post VP of Integrity Guy Rosen alleged that the White House was unfairly using the company as a scapegoat for its failure to meet Biden’s vaccination goals.
The president on Monday retracted his earlier remarks, saying he thinks it is a group of around 12 people who spread misinformation on Facebook that is primarily responsible for COVID deaths among unrelated people. . Still, his overall displeasure with Facebook, and the tech industry in general, should be obvious to anyone paying attention.
A day after Biden clarified his remarks, the White House announced that it would name longtime Big Tech critic Jonathan Kantor as the top antitrust official at the Justice Department. Kanter, a favorite of progressives who favor prosecuting what they see as illegal monopolies, has bipartisan help.
The likes of Lena Khan are selected by Biden to head the Federal Trade Commission. Khan has been a longtime critic of the tech industry, who has called for redefining what constitutes a monopoly in the digital age. And in March the president chose Tim Wu to serve on the National Economic Council. Wu, a Columbia law professor who coined the term “net neutrality”, argues that companies like Facebook are allowed to grow too big and should be subject to stronger antitrust scrutiny.
Biden is right that the tech titan has a lot to answer for, especially for its continued failure to remove misinformation and disinformation from its platform.
Facebook claims that vaccine acceptance among its users in the United States has increased from 70% since January to nearly 85%. But it refuses to be clear how many people view factually incorrect content on its platform.
And it still enlists the group of 12 people dubbed the “disruptive dozen” – including Dr. Joseph Mercola and Robert Kennedy Jr. – for spreading myths about vaccine safety to millions of followers. Disruptive dozen regularly say the vaccine is unsafe and ineffective, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
Facebook’s failure to curb the spread of election misinformation and propaganda in the 2016 and 2020 elections, as well as continuing to perpetuate epidemiological lies, make it clear that Zuckerberg is more concerned with protecting his bottom line than protecting the American people. care more about.