White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was questioned by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy on the Biden administration’s plan to push social media companies to censor speech the government decides is “misinformation.”
“The big concern though, I think for a lot of people on Facebook, is that now this is big brother watching you,” Doocy said.
“They’re more concerned about that than people dying across the country because of a pandemic where misinformation is traveling on social media platforms?” Psaki responded. “That feels unlikely to me if you have the data to back that up. I’m happy to discuss it.”
“And about things that are on Facebook, I looked this morning, there are videos of Dr. Fauci from 2020 before anybody had a vaccine, and he’s out there saying there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” Doocy responded. “So, is the administration going to contact Facebook and ask them to take that down?”
“Well, first, I think what Dr. Fauci has said himself, whose been quite public out there is that science evolves, information evolves, and we make that available in a public way to the American people,” Psaki responded. “I have never seen any data to suggest that the vaccines cause infertility. That is information that is irresponsible traveling, okay.”
Doocy then pointed out that since information evolves, what the government decides is misinformation will also change. He pointed out how the theory that COVID-19 was a result of a lab leak used to be labeled a conspiracy theory on some platforms and would get users banned for promoting it, but that theory is now considered very likely to be the case by officials.
Psaki defended by saying the government itself does not actually block people, it just pressures companies to block people.
“We don’t take anything down. We don’t block anything,” Psaki claimed. “Facebook, and any private sector company makes decisions about what information should be on their platform. Our point is that there is information that is leading to people not taking the vaccine, and people are dying as a result, and we have a responsibility as a public health matter to raise that issue. The responsibility we all have the government media platforms, public messengers to give accurate information.”
The exchange comes after the Biden administration announced they would be pushing social media companies and SMS carriers to censor private messages if those messages contain government-defined misinformation. The Biden administration even called for companies to collude by banning one user on all platforms if that user gets banned on one platform.