What Type of Speech will Biden Ask Facebook to Suppress Next?
"They're killing people."
That was the simple declarative sentence President Joe Biden uttered in response to a question a reporter asked him as he left the White House on Friday.
"On COVID misinformation, what's your message to platforms like Facebook?" the reporter had shouted as the president was walking toward Marine One.
Biden turned and walked directly toward the reporter.
"They're killing people," he said.
"I mean, it really -- look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated," he said. "And they're killing people."
At her regular briefing the day before, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had explained how the administration was working with social media companies, including Facebook, in the hope of getting them to adopt what she called "a robust enforcement strategy" against COVID-19 misinformation.
"Can you talk a little bit more about this request for tech companies to be more aggressive in policing misinformation?" a reporter asked Psaki. "Has the administration been in touch with any of these companies? And are there any actions that the federal government can take to ensure their cooperation, because we've seen, from the start, there's not a lot of action on some of these platforms?"
"Sure," Psaki responded. "Well, first, we are in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team, given, as (Surgeon General Vivek) Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic."
Then she made a very specific claim which is memorialized at 17 minutes and 30 seconds into C-SPAN's online video of the briefing.