White House press secretary Jen Psaki signaled it's fine to censor Americans since the Biden administration is already "in touch" with the media in a similar way.
After she made comments Thursday about flagging Facebook posts on COVID-19 vaccine "misinformation," Psaki said Friday: "It shouldn't come as a surprise that we're in touch with social media, just like we're in regular touch with all of you and your media outlets about areas where we have concern, information that might be useful, information that may or not be interesting to your viewers."
"You all make decisions just like the social media platforms make decisions, even though they are a private sector company and different but just as an example," Psaki continued from the White House podium.
Psaki said that the Biden administration is "regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives dangerous to public health that we and many other Americans are seeing across all of social and traditional media."
"We work to engage with them to better understand the enforcement of social media platform policies," Psaki stated, citing the "false narrative that remains active out there...flowing on the Internet" of COVID-19 vaccines causing infertility.
The "troubling" claim has been "disproven time and time again," but still "a persistent narrative" that the White House demands Big Tech companies take steps to address the "inaccurate, false information," Psaki said.
Real Clear Politics reporter Philip Wegmann then asked Psaki at the White House press conference if Facebook has been as proactive as the Biden administration would like in terms of flagging the outlined content.
Psaki stressed that it's the shared responsibility of members of the media, citizens, civic leaders, and trusted voices around the country, including social media sites as sources of news and information for the public.
"A couple of steps that could be constructive for the public health of the country," Psaki detailed, are for Facebook to measure and share "the impact of misinformation" on the site and the audience its reaching.
She urged the purported free speech forums to create "robust enforcement strategies" that bridge properties and provide transparency about community guidelines. "You shouldn't be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation out there," Psaki elucidated.
Psaki also called on social media platforms to take faster action to take down "harmful posts," because information travels quickly.
"If it's up there for days and days and days, when people see it, it's hard to put that in a box," Psaki said. "And of course promoting quality information..." She then joked about not knowing how algorithms work.
Psaki said the censorship effort is about "the right of the public to know."
After the Biden administration's Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued an advisory urging Big Tech companies to "impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies," Psaki used it to call for Silicon Valley corporations to crack down harder on social media users with "fact-checks" on "misinformation." A reporter requested Thursday that Psaki expand more on "the request for tech companies to be more aggressive" as regards to "misinformation."
"We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team. Given as, Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation specifically on the pandemic," Psaki stated Thursday.
Psaki said that the White House has taken actions or are working to mobilize efforts. "We've increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General's office," Psaki added. "We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We're working with doctors and medical professionals to connect two connected medical experts who are popular with their audiences with accurate information and boost trusted content."
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