Twitter explodes after Psaki urges Big Tech to unite on bans for 'misinformation' spreaders
Media top headlines July 16
A journalist ripping how the Steele dossier was covered, the White House saying it would work with Facebook to flag ‘misinformation’ on COVID-19, and Rep. Jim Clyburn getting Four Pinocchios for his voter ID claim round out today’s media headlines.
The White House is courting intense criticism again Friday after press secretary Jen Psaki said that once users are banned from one social media platform for spreading coronavirus “misinformation,” they should be expelled from all others as well.
Remarking on steps social media outlets could take for public health, she advised they “create robust enforcement strategies that bridge their properties and provide transparency about rules. You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others if you are for providing misinformation out there.”
The remarks riled critics already concerned about collaboration between the Biden administration and Big Tech Psaki discussed from the podium on Thursday, as they seek to vaccinate more Americans amid spikes in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks.
“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical experts…who are popular with their audience with accurate information,” she said Thursday. “So, we’re helping get trusted content out there.”
Psaki’s remarks Friday drew bipartisan derision, with critics calling Big Tech outlets “state actors” and ripping the Biden administration for playing judge and jury on truth. One writer said it was a precursor to censoring other so-called “misinformation” on social issues.
“Um, no. F– no,” tweeted The Daily Beast’s Noah Shactman, who will soon take the top editor job at Rolling Stone.
“Why is the White House declaring who should and shouldn’t be banned from social media platforms?” author Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted. “Google, Facebook, and Twitter are effectively state actors in disguise when they engage in political censorship.”
“This is White House directed collusion,” radio host Clay Travis tweeted.
While questioning Psaki on Friday, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy noted the checkered history of Big Tech deciding what was and wasn’t misinformation, such as Facebook infamously flagging posts that hypothesized the coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab. Once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, it’s now being seriously investigated as a possible origin of the virus.
“We don’t take anything down,” Psaki said. “We don’t block anything. Facebook and any private sector company makes decisions about what information should be on their platform.”
Fourth Water newsletter editor Steve Krakauer pointed to the stunning Big Tech censorship of the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop last year as a precusor to this week. Citing that the story was based on “hacked materials,” Facebook and Twitter limited sharing of the article and even suspended the Post’s Twitter account, causing an outcry.
“Don’t ever forget the collusion that happened with Hunter Biden between governnment, tech and media. It was the beginning,” he wrote.
“Removing information on vaccines will translate right over to anything they think is misinformation on gun violence, or climate, or healthcare or what defines a man or woman,” tweeted conservative writer Stephen L. Miller. “Which is why they are doing this.”
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted, “[Psaki’s] statement makes it abundantly clear they want people banned for simply disagreeing with the government’s pre-approved narrative.”
Former GOP congressman Joe Walsh, a fierce Trump critic who supported Biden for president, tweeted it’s “not the government’s job to moderate Facebook.”
The vaccination rate in the U.S. has slowed in recent weeks amid a debate over public health measures colliding with personal responsibility. The overwhelming majority of those still dying or being hospitalized from COVID-19 have not received the available vaccines, which have proven highly effective.
President Joe Biden said misinformation on the vaccines was “killing people” on Friday.
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