WASHINGTON — President Biden unleashed his growing frustration with social media on Friday when he said platforms like Facebook are “killing people” by allowing disinformation about the coronavirus vaccine to spread online.
Mr. Biden’s forceful statement capped weeks of grievance in the White House over the spread of vaccine disinformation online, even as the pace of vaccinations slows and health officials warn of the rising danger of the Delta variant.
Just before boarding Marine One for a weekend in Camp David, Md., Mr. Biden was asked what his message was to social media platforms when it comes to Covid-19 disinformation.
“They’re killing people,” Mr. Biden said. “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that — and they’re killing people.”
Mr. Biden spoke a day after the surgeon general of the United States used his first formal advisory to criticize tech and social media companies to stop dangerous health information that presents “an urgent threat to public health.”
The Biden administration has warned of the spread of misinformation about vaccines and the coronavirus from a range of sources, including politicians and news outlets. But this week, White House officials went further and singled out social media companies for allowing false information to proliferate. That came after weeks of failed attempts to get Facebook to turn over information detailing what mechanisms are in place to combat misinformation about the vaccine, according to a person familiar with the matter.