Surgeon general: Facebook's efforts to combat COVID misinformation 'not enough'

Surgeon General says Facebook misinformation censorship ‘is not enough’

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says tech companies are not pursuing enough ‘pathways’ to stop the spread of COVID misinformation

The Biden administration continued its public feud with Facebook over whether the social media giant is appropriately addressing misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy claiming Facebook’s measures have been inadequate.

In a conversation with “Fox News Sunday,” Murthy said that “misinformation is still spreading” and that social media platforms must do more to stop it. Facebook, meanwhile, has said that they have already taken action on all of Murthy’s eight recommendations for what social media companies can do.

“It’s not enough,” Murthy said. “We are still, despite some of the actions that they have taken, seeing significant spread of misinformation.”

Murthy went on to say that “this health misinformation is hurting people’s health, it’s costing them their lives.”

Fox News reached out to Facebook for a response, but they did not immediately respond.

On Saturday, Facebook pushed back against claims that they are not doing enough, with Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen penning a statement asserting that the facts “tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days.”

Rosen noted that according to Facebook’s data, 85% of its users either have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while the Biden administration was short of reaching its goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4.

“Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed,” Rosen said.

Rosen’s statement came after President Biden himself on Friday accused Facebook of “killing people” with misinformation about vaccinations.  

While Facebook has made positive public statements on how they’ve partnered with the government and taken aggressive action to curb vaccine misinformation, the White House believes that the Big Tech company and its social media peers have fallen short.

“I’m asking these companies to step up and take responsibility for what’s happening on their sides,” Murthy said.

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