The White Home And Jen Psaki Did not Really Name For Censorship Of Social Media


White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press conference at the James S. Brady Press … [+] Meeting room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on Friday, July 2, 2021. The pace of hiring in the US accelerated in June, with payrolls rising the fastest in 10 months, suggesting businesses Are more successful in recruiting to keep pace with the reopening of the economy.Photograph: Samuel Corum / Bloomberg

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On Friday afternoon, white press secretary Jen Psaki was a hot topic on Twitter after talking to Fox New Channel’s Peter Doocy about the problem of Covid-19 vaccine misinformation on social media. President Joe Biden has particularly criticized social media platforms, especially Facebook, for allowing misinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines to be spread.

Blaming misinformation for blocking US vaccine rates, Biden suggested “They’re killing people” when asked what his message was to social networks for allowing misleading claims to be spread.

“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” added Biden.

Facebook was quick to respond to the president.

“We’re not going to be distracted by allegations that aren’t backed by the facts,” a company spokesman said in a statement to NBC News. “The fact is, more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, more than any other place on the internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out “where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook helps save lives. Point.”

Censorship or not?

The fact that the president has targeted a social media platform has been widely cited by many on social media platforms, suggesting that it is censorship while others even consider it a violation of the First Amendment saw. However, this is not accurate.

“I was surprised when the White House called Facebook by name,” said Bob Jarvis, attorney and law professor at Nova Southeastern University.

“I think it would have been more appropriate if the White House had simply reminded Americans that there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet and that everyone should, as always, approach the Internet with a large dose of skepticism and be very careful about what they believe. even if information appears on a social media platform they like and use regularly, “added Jarvis.” Obviously, however, the White House is very frustrated with the misinformation that hinders its urge to ‘gun shots’. And she obviously feels there is no political downside to calling Facebook. This assessment is undoubtedly correct, given that Big Tech currently has few or no friends. “

Misinformation is protected language

Some cable speakers, as well as political experts on social media, have also wondered whether “misinformation” would actually be protected. Comparisons to screaming fire in a crowded theater have been suggested online, but Jarvis said this is not comparable.

“‘Misinformation’ is covered by the first amendment,” he added. “Under the First Amendment, all information, no matter how false it is, is protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, for example, Holocaust deniers can say what they say. Judge Holmes’ exception for falsely screaming fire in a crowded theater is not concerned with the fact that the misinformation is wrong, but the exception it does because the 100 percent sure consequence that will follow is that it is too an immediate onslaught and, as a result, immediate death.

“The same for the other well-known exception – namely the publication of troop movements in times of war,” explained Jarvis. “Here we cannot say with 100% certainty that people who are not vaccinated will get Covid and die. In fact, we know that at least some of them will not get Covid.”

Another misconception that has been spread on social media is that social media companies are also bound by the First Amendment and their respective removal from Covid-19-related posts would be a form of censorship. That’s not true either.

“The First Amendment must protect misinformation, otherwise someone would have to decide what misinformation is,” said Jarvis. “The government clearly cannot be given that power, because that is a direct route to dictatorship. But a private company like Facebook that is not subject to the First Amendment – which of course only applies to the government – can decide that it is someone. ”Spit out false information and decide that person’s time or, in the case of Facebook, theirs Platform and not to give access to their users. “

Forbid all?

Twitter users were also quick to shout out Psaki for declaring on Friday that social media companies should be transparent about their rules.

“You shouldn’t be banned by one platform or another for providing misinformation,” she said, but many took those words out of context.

“Jen Psaki stood on the podium and basically said that people who are excluded from a social media platform should be banned from everyone. Free speech is dead in America if these people get their way, ”wrote MP Lauren Boerbert (@laurenboebert.). ) (R-Colo.), Who continues to be quite critical of the Biden government.

Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker), CEO of, also targeted Psaki and suggested, “This is * really * dangerous.”

In context, however, Psaki did not mean that someone should be banned from all social media if a platform so chooses, but that it should be based on the content that person posts.

“I understood Jen Psaki’s comment to mean that if you get banned from one social media platform for spreading Covid-19 misinformation, you should be banned from all other platforms and that platforms should work together to create one to create a ‘blacklist’ of users. ” said Jarvis.

“I don’t think there is any other way to interpret your comment,” he added. “This is also okay according to the First Amendment, since the platforms are private companies and are therefore not subject to the First Amendment. And the government is merely suggesting that the platforms ban people who spread Covid-19 misinformation and not require the platforms to do what would violate the First Amendment. “

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