Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dodged a question about COVID-19 misinformation on the platform, as the company faces fury from the Biden administration.
Gayle King repeatedly pressed Zuckerberg on how many people had viewed pandemic misinformation on Facebook during an interview aired on CBS.
‘One of the things that the White House has asked for repeatedly and still hasn’t gotten a number, is how many people have viewed and shared, do you have that number?’ asked King.
‘Well, if we see harmful misinformation on the platform then we take it down. It’s against our policy. So the 18 million number that I shared is the number, of pieces of content that we’ve seen on the platform that we’ve taken down,’ Zuckerberg responded.
.@GayleKing exclusively asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg how many people have seen misinformation on COVID & vaccines on his platform.
"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." pic.twitter.com/y210HYTU7c
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 18, 2021
He continued: ‘Now 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.’
King pressed him further: ‘Those are two separate issues. You’ve taken down 18 million pieces of misinformation, but how many people have viewed the misinformation?’
‘The White House has said at one point that Facebook is killing people. That was very bold and very blunt and provocative, and I think at one point the president walked that back,’ she added.
‘I understand what you’re saying,’ replied Zuckerberg. ‘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.’
Zuckerberg also insisted that millions have used Facebook’s vaccine finder to locate appoints for shots, and that hundreds of millions had visited the site’s coronavirus hub to get authoritative misinformation.
The interview comes amid tensions between Facebook and the White House over Covid-19 vaccination misinformation.
In July, President Joe Biden publicly accused Facebook of ‘killing people’ with misinformation, though he later tempered the statement.
At the other end of the political spectrum, Republicans have grown increasingly enraged with the social media giant over what they see as too much censorship.