Sen. Lujan on White House Working with FB: COVID ‘Misinformation is Killing People’

Elisabeth Nieshalla | July 22, 2021 | 10:20am EDT
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Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.)   (Getty Images)
Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- When asked whether the Biden administration should work with Facebook to suppress postings it considers vaccine misinformation, Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) said “misinformation is killing people,” and the U.S. Senate should work with social media platforms to eliminate it.

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked the senator, “Should the Biden administration work with Facebook to suppress any postings they consider to be vaccine misinformation?”

Sen. Lujan said, “I think the social media platforms should be doing more to stop the spread of misinformation. While there have been as many as eight of the identified 12 individuals that have been spreading the most misinformation, where there’s been some action by social media platforms, not all of them, have been subjected to that. So, more work must be done.”

“I held a hearing on this issue, I still believe that spreading misinformation is killing people,” he said.

CNS News asked again, “And should the Biden administration be working with Facebook to do that?”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Sen. Lujan said, “I think that, as a member of the United States Senate, we should be doing more to ensure that these actions are taking place. But the social media platforms should be taking action on their own, if they’ve identified the spread of misinformation. So, I won’t speak for the president. I know that there’s more responsibility that the Senate has to get this job done.”

President Joe Biden was asked on Friday, July 16, about social media platforms like Facebook and the alleged spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

“They’re killing people,” Biden claimed. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNS News during her press conference on Monday that the White House has “not asked Facebook to block any individual posts,” but the Biden administration “certainly raised where we have concerns about information that’s inaccurate, that is traveling out there in whatever platform it’s traveling on.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On July16, Psaki said the administration is “in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team, given, as [U.S. Surgeon General] Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.”

As the federal government, she said, “We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office. We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others, uh – if you – for providing misinformation out there,” said Psaki.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) responded to her comments by stating on Twitter, “Her statement makes it abundantly clear they want people banned for simply disagreeing with the government’s pre-approved narrative.” 

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