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White House turns up heat on Big Tech’s Covid ‘disinformation dozen’

By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN Business

The White House turned up the pressure on Silicon Valley to get a handle on vaccine misinformation Thursday, specifically singling out 12 people one group dubbed the “disinformation dozen,” saying they were responsible for a great deal of misinformation about Covid-19.

“There’s about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

That statistic is from the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) which identified in a report published in March about a dozen people it said were super-spreaders of anti-vaccine misinformation.

The CCDH had at the time called on Facebook and Twitter to shut down all pages run by those people.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent figure in the anti-vaccine movement, is among the people whom the CCDH said should be kicked off social media.

Kennedy’s page on Facebook-owned Instagram was shut down earlier this year for sharing Covid-19 misinformation, Facebook said. However, Kennedy is still allowed on Facebook itself, and he has more than 300,000 followers on the platform.

Explaining why Kennedy was kicked off one of its platforms but not the other, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Thursday, “We don’t automatically disable accounts across our apps, because the accounts may post about different things on our different services.”

At the time the CCDH’s report was released in March, Kennedy told NPR that he had become more cautious on Facebook, which according to NPR he also accused of censorship. “I have to post, like, unicorns and kitty cat pictures on there,” he said.

The CCDH said Friday that 35 social media accounts tied to the people it identified have now been shut down, losing them 5.8 million followers, but 62 accounts with a total of 8.4 million followers are still active.

CNN reported Thursday that meetings between the Biden administration and Facebook have grown “tense,” according to a person familiar with the conversations.

The person pointed specifically to Kennedy’s still-active Facebook account as an example of what some White House officials view as Facebook’s inaction regarding Covid-19 misinformation.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNN Friday the company had shut down some pages and groups belonging to the dozen or so people identified by the CCDH but would not say what pages.

A spokesperson for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Comments

38 Comments

    1. Actually that was Biden-Pelosi-and Maxine Waters who spent months bad-mouthing President Trump’s efforts… do you need a link- or just a crying towel ?

  1. I’m so glad we have the Biden administration and social media to tell us what is true and what isn’t. North Koreans and Cubans would feel right at home here.

  2. The government telling media’s companies what can and cannot be in their platform even when it is perfectly legal information. That freak anybody out? It sure as hell should. Reminds me of a few other governments we could discuss….

      1. I actually wrote LEFT in my previous comment… Wierd one ktvz… Im sure youll say “it wasnt us” lol We all know what way you lean! I do not support Forced vaccinations and all the insane censorship that is going on.. Not to mention all the hate, bullying, politic division, fear propaganda, unaccountability for Vaccine makers, the HIGHLY FIBBED Covid death count… LOL there are too many more to mention… Ya’ll have been duped.. And not I didnt vote for Trump or Biden so no point trying to rip me a new one there LOL

      1. So you’re OK with government and social media monitoring and deciding what speech is acceptable? No one should be good with that regardless of who they voted for.

        1. Completely agree with you 100%. We are being censored like no other time in America right now. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are hell bent on controlling speech they do not agree with. It’s going to get worse.

          1. I’ve been censored here at KTVZ for three weeks- the lefty posters here find it acceptable- the Mod plays dumb- I refuse to go away. This is Joe Biden’s ‘Merika.

            1. I have found every fact posted about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s criminality have been removed. We know why. But they will never admit it.

                1. A lie repeated 100 or 1,000 times a day does not magically become true or deserve 100 refutations – only one. Lies are unprovable by definition. You ought to know. You’ve lied about me and my organization so much that responding to each and every one is a huge waste of my very valuable time. But once in a while, what the heck. Do carry on, I know you will. Have a great weekend – thanks for helping generate revenue that pays for the job I’m blessed to have, and thanks for all the support of me and sympathy your always nasty mean posts brings my way, from people I never otherwise would have known! We treat everyone equally here, of course, and always have, regardless of political view. Not my fault you can’t find better things to do on a wonderful Saturday.

                2. What lie ? As far as I can see- my posts are the only ones being limited- targeted- daily… and you know it !

                3. So are you saying my posts are no longer targeted for auto removal- or contain limits on frequency or length ? I think you lie- I’ll let you know- and apologize accordingly.

                4. I’ve never been targeted ? Then someone hacked your system- and targeted my handle- which is it ?

                5. I found the issue and you of course reject the explanation. There was no hack or target. It was happening to plenty of others. Most of whom believe me when I say it was a technical error.

        2. I am not just fine with, I am heavily in support of the government stopping the flow of harmful propaganda and misinformation on ANY media. Same goes for them stopping hate speech.

          1. The problem with your statement is that the definition of acceptible speech is dictated purely by those in power. My guess is that you would feel differently once those in power began “stopping the flow” of speech you agree with. The first amendment was written with the sole intent of preventing what is transpiring right now.

          2. You are surrounded by liberal loudmouths making personal attacks on people all day- I say it’s offensive- Lerten says otherwise- Go ahead- break the tie !

      2. Posters like you-DB-Martha-NeverT-Tio… who dump your factless date lacking BS on this site all day are the spreaders of the Fakebook propaganda- and the problem. I quote the OHA-CDC-WHO… You guys quote the village idiot at the bar !

  3. Here’s a more accurate headline- “Biden blasted for accusing Facebook of ‘killing people’ over COVID”. Ya see folks- this is where the angry left gets it- from an unhinged old fool.

  4. The same people that called Trump a fascist for four years are now crapping all over the first amendment. At least Democrats finally have a FLAG they can be proud of.🤡🤡

  5. There’s no such thing as disinformation if it comes from a leftist/democrat. It’s only disinformation if it comes from the right/republicans according to mainstream media. When was the last time you heard a false leftist narrative being censored on social media? The answer is never, even though they certainly produce just as much disinformation.

    1. This isn’t a right left thing. Some of the biggest anti-vax people are hard core leftists. And of all the world’s scientists and doctors who actually treat patients, is everyone a Trump supporting white supremacist as Biden would have use believe? All those African doctors? All those Indian doctors? Why are they all to be ignored just because Fauci says so. Fauci’s only accomplishment is remaining a bureaucrat for 50 years. He hasn’t treated a patient that whole time.

      1. What are your “accomplishments” ? Sorry, but spending all day, every day, defending Trump or smooching his fat keister, doesn’t count.

  6. Well since Biden can’t directly censor unapproved party information he will just have media outlets censor unapproved party information. Heaven forbid anyone dare challenge Saint Fauci of Bureaucracy. People simply can not be allowed to learn anything on their own.

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