Zuckerberg won’t say how many people viewed COVID misinformation on Facebook

Credit: CBSNews
Credit: CBSNews

▶ Watch Video: Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook removed 18 million posts with COVID misinformation, won’t say how many people viewed them

Watch more of Gayle King’s exclusive interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on “CBS This Morning” Thursday, when Zuckerberg will reveal a major company announcement.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social media giant has removed 18 million posts containing misinformation about COVID-19, but would not say how many times the posts had been viewed or shared.

“If we see harmful misinformation on the platform, then we take it down. It’s against our policy,” Zuckerberg told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King in an exclusive interview.

“But do we catch everything? Of course, there are mistakes that we make or areas where we need to improve. But that’s the best number that we have in terms of what we’ve seen and what our systems have been able to detect,” he said.

King noted that the figure only refers to the number of posts, not how many people saw or spread the misinformation.

“But how many people have viewed the misinformation? Is it more than 18 million? Is it less than 18 million?” King asked. She noted that such posts can affect people’s actions, “And Facebook is being blamed for that.”

“I understand what you’re saying,” Zuckerberg said. “The number that I have off the top of my head that I can share is the number of pieces of misinformation that we’ve taken action against.”

Facebook, as well as other platforms, has faced intense criticism for the spread of misinformation, especially regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

President Biden said last month that Facebook and other social media platforms were “killing people” by enabling the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, but later clarified that he meant the misinformation itself was causing deaths.

“They’re killing people. I mean it, really. Look, The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people,” he said.

Mr. Biden later added: “Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people. It’s bad information. My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally that somehow I’m saying Facebook is killing people, that they would do something about the misinformation. The outrageous misinformation about the vaccine. That’s what I meant.”

Facebook responded to Mr. Biden’s comments, saying the company has actually helped increase vaccine acceptance. “We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” the company said.

As of mid-July, more than 2 billion people viewed “authoritative information” about COVID-19 on Facebook, the company said, including 3.3. million Americans who used the vaccine finder tool to make an appointment to get the vaccine.

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