Mark Zuckerberg said in a livestreamed interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci that Facebook had been in touch with the incoming Biden administration about how it might help with the coronavirus response.
Zuckerberg said Facebook was planning a “push around authoritative information on vaccines,” though he did not elaborate on what this would look like.
The Financial Times reported last week that Facebook was considering placing a banner at the top of its site encouraging users to get vaccinated, as a way of getting on President-elect Joe Biden’s good side.
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Facebook is trying to collaborate with President-elect Joe Biden, its chief executive said Monday.
During a livestreamed interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook had made contact with the incoming Biden administration about ways it could help with the coronavirus response.
This included promoting “authoritative information” on vaccines, he said.
“Our team at Facebook has already reached out to the incoming administration to help with the COVID response in any way that we can. I’m sure there will be a few important things that we can do together,” Zuckerberg said.
“We’re already planning a push around authoritative information on vaccines,” he added.
Zuckerberg did not elaborate on what this “push” would look like.
Zuckerberg’s comments tally with a Financial Times report from last week that Facebook was planning to roll out features promoting accurate information about vaccines and climate change as a way of getting on Biden’s good side.
The president-elect has already shown signs he will come down hard on Facebook over misinformation on its platform.
Read more: 5 experts predict how a Biden administration could crack down on the advertising and tech industries
Company sources told the Financial Times that Facebook was considering putting a banner at the top of its site encouraging users to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
In October, the social-media giant launched a new “preventative health tool” that directed users toward information about getting flu shots.
Both Moderna and Pfizer have filed for emergency authorization of their COVID-19 vaccines, so it’s possible Facebook will roll out something similar once vaccines become available to the public.
Facebook also announced in October it was changing its policy to ban ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated.
The platform does not fully ban anti-vaccination — also known as “anti-vaxx” — content, though in February it said it would start making pages and groups that regularly promote anti-vaxx posts more difficult to find in its search results.
Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate campaign group, said Zuckerberg’s announcement was not addressing the real problem.
“Mr. Zuckerberg is deeply hypocritical to claim he is offering to help with the Coronavirus vaccine, when his companies, Facebook and Instagram, host the world’s most renowned anti-vaxxers and amplify their toxic lies into tens of millions of users’ timelines,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed said if Facebook were serious about vaccine misinformation, it should remove prominent sources of misinformation from its platform. “If Mark Zuckerberg really wanted to help, he could remove the identified pages and groups, some with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, which spread lies about vaccines, as laid out clearly in our report on the Anti-Vaxx Industry,” Ahmed said.
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