Critics roundly condemned the White House after press secretary Jen Psaki revealed the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on COVID-19.
On Thursday, Psaki was asked a question regarding the Biden administration’s request for tech companies to be more “aggressive” when policing what they referred to as “misinformation.” Psaki revealed that the White House is “in regular touch with social media platforms” to handle it.
“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team — given, as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” Psaki explained.
While referencing the team’s actions, Psaki also revealed that they are “flagging” posts on Facebook as part of their efforts.
“Within the Surgeon General’s Office, we’re flagging posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” Psaki said. “We’re working with doctors and medical professionals to connect medical experts with people, who are popular with their audiences with accurate information and boost trusted content. So, we’re helping get trusted content out there. We also created the COVID Community Corps to get factual information into the hands of local messengers.”
Psaki’s comments were met with fierce pushback online with some calling the actions as infringing on the First Amendment.
“Psaki says the White House has been flagging ‘problematic posts’ on Facebook they believe are misinformation about Wuhan coronavirus. Reminder: Fauci worked with Facebook to ban the lab leak theory, which is factual, for more than a year,” Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted.
Dan Gainor, of Media Research Center, said people being anti-vaccine is part of free speech and that Psaki is “against freedom.”
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote a lengthy Twitter thread condemning the revelation from Psaki.
“If you don’t find it deeply disturbing that the White House is ‘flagging’ internet content that they deem ‘problematic’ to their Facebook allies for removal, then you are definitionally [sic] an authoritarian. No other information is needed about you to know that,” he wrote.