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Social Media Platforms Must Curb Misinformation About The Covid Vaccine; Dr. Scott Gottlieb

Doctor Scott Gottlieb said Monday on CNBC that social media companies miss their responsibilities to prevent the spread of misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine. According to him, social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook let users build up big followings and become verified, effectively handing them a franchise. 

Social Media Platforms Must Curb Misinformation About The Covid Vaccine; Dr. Scott Gottlieb

“If they are providing a very large platform for someone to distribute information, they have an obligation to monitor the distribution of information,” said Scott Gottlieb,  Under former President Donald Trump, he was the chief of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s his belief that they have an affirmative responsibility, and that sometimes, they fail to do so.

Social Media Platforms Must Curb Misinformation About The Covid Vaccine; Dr. Scott Gottlieb

Gottlieb’s remarks were not commented on by a Facebook spokesperson. A request for comment from Twitter has not been answered. On Friday, President Joe Biden claimed that platforms like Facebook were killing people by allowing misinformation about Covid vaccines to spread through their platforms. As reported on Monday, Biden retracted some of that comment, saying he meant to say that a dozen YouTube users spread misinformation, not the social media platform.

This is in response to a statement earlier that day from White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicating that the administration is flagging posts on Facebook that spread incorrect or misleading information about vaccinations. As well as Psaki’s suggestions, other social media services could counter false narratives with actions like promoting quality content, preventing misleading posts, and removing harmful posts.

In response to White House remarks, Facebook has denied this. Several media outlets reported Saturday that Covid’s website has shown authoritative information about vaccines and Covid itself, as well as encouraging people to use the vaccine finder. 

According to Gottlieb, who sits on the board of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine maker, Twitter carries vaccine misinformation in addition to Facebook. Many people are specifically pointing to information they view on Facebook as the cause of the issue, which is why administrators working on the issue are targeting Facebook. 

Gottlieb, a contributing editor at CNBC, said publishing knowingly false information is crossing the line. The fact that you’re publishing fake scientific data and fake information in a way that is highly misleading is an easy line to police, so that’s the case, he added.

CDC scientists have found that Covid deaths increase in the US as the fast-propagating delta variant spreads through largely unvaccinated communities. There are approximately 161 million fully vaccinated Americans, although the rate of daily shots has slowed significantly in recent months, according to CDC numbers. CDC officials were again reminded of Gottlieb’s request to track all infections among vaccinated people, not just those associated with hospitalizations. 

Despite the fact that it’s not an overwhelming number, there is no tracking of it in the United States, and that’s the bottom line, he said. Gottlieb said that we should track it. The researchers also hope to find out if this strain is more transmissible among people who had already been vaccinated.

On Friday, he told CNBC that the U.S. is drastically underestimating the number of patients with Covid delta infections, particularly in patients with mild symptoms and breakthrough cases. This makes it difficult to understand whether this strain is causing higher-than-expected hospitalizations and deaths.

“Their immunity is very robust and durable,” Gottlieb said. If you have already been infected, but have a smaller risk of getting infected, Gottlieb recommends you get vaccinated. A booster shot of Covid would merely be an additional dose of the current vaccine, Gottlieb explained. He added, “the current vaccine is very protective against the delta variant.”

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