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Jen Psaki

White House acknowledges working with Facebook to flag ‘problematic’ COVID-related posts

The Biden administration is acknowledging working with social media platforms on what it considers “problematic” posts related to COVID-19.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday acknowledged the effort. 

“We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s Office. We are flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” she said.

Psaki also said administration officials are in “regular touch” with the platforms and such interactions are typically handled by senior staff and members of the administration’s COVID-19 team.

“This is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” she said, after Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy made similar remarks.

Psaki also suggested Facebook must move faster to remove such posts and those that violate company guidelines, while Murthy said platforms should purge pandemic-related misinformation – much of which is reportedly being spread by a surprising few accounts.

“We’re asking [social media companies] to consistently take action against misinformation super-spreaders on their platforms,” Murthy said. 

Murthy has also issued a Surgeon General’s advisory on misinformation, which he says leads to people resisting mask-wearing and turning down vaccines and other proven treatments.

The advisory calls health misinformation an urgent public health crisis.

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