Twitter has been called out for allowing the White House account to make a “very clearly false” claim about Covid-19 vaccines.
The Biden administration has claimed to fight misinformation at all costs, even establishing a Disinformation Governance Board, and big tech outfits like Twitter have flagged posts they claim contain misinformation on important issues like coronavirus vaccines.
Yet while the White House shared bogus info itself on Thursday about vaccines, Twitter has yet to note the inaccurate message to many users, Fox News reports.
“When President Biden took office, millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available. In the last 15 months, the economy has created 8.3 million jobs and the unemployment rate stands at 3.6 per cent – the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded,” the White House’s verified Twitter account wrote.
Observers were quick to point out the Covid-19 vaccine was, in fact, available when Mr Biden took office on January 20, 2021. The same Twitter account even shared a video of then-president-elect Biden getting his second dose a week before Inauguration Day.
Mr Biden had also previously shared an image of himself receiving the first dose on December 2020.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, in an amendment earlier today, it added to the tweet: “We previously misstated that vaccines were unavailable in January 2021. We should have said that they were not widely available.
“Vaccines became available shortly before the President came into office.
“Since then, he’s responsible for fully vaccinating over 200 million people.”
Twitter, which has taken steps to prevent misinformation on the platform, claims in its guidelines that users “may not use Twitter’s services to share false or misleading information about Covid-19 which may lead to harm”.
The policy goes on to state that content related to Covid-19 is considered in violation if it’s “demonstrably false or misleading, based on widely available, authoritative sources”.
The social media juggernaut then explains that these types of violations could force users to become locked out of their account until the tweet is deleted, and a permanent suspension could be handed to repeat offenders.
Twitter also did not respond to a request for comment.
Some users received a disclaimer that “readers added context” to indicate the first vaccines were given before Mr Biden took office, but only a “small group of people” who are part of a “pilot program” received the notification.
It’s unclear why the White House tweet received this message that wasn’t even visible to most followers instead of harsher punishment.
Twitter did not immediately respond when asked for an explanation regarding the “added context” message being given to the tweet instead of something that indicates the information shared by the White House was false.
Many Americans have lost access to their account for spreading inaccurate information as deemed by Twitter, and satirical website The Babylon Bee was recently locked out of its account for a joke naming Biden administration official Dr Rachel Levine the site’s “Man of the Year” for 2022.
Dr Levine, the US assistant secretary of health, is a transgender woman.
While Twitter didn’t take immediate action against the clear misinformation from the White House, critics from across the media landscape noticed the infraction.
“Anybody got the customer service line for the new disinformation board?” Fox News’ Joe Concha tweeted.
CNN’s Daniel Dale, who has been critical of Biden since the network’s recent leadership change, also called out the tweet.
“‘There was no vaccine available’ is very clearly false. More than 3 million Americans were fully vaccinated and more than 18 million had at least one dose by Biden’s Inauguration Day. Biden himself was fully vaccinated,” Dale tweeted.
“Obviously became more widely available with time, but.”
“Who’s manning the @WhiteHouse Twitter account?” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler asked.
“Delete this false tweet. Biden himself has said 8 per cent of seniors had gotten the vaccine on the day he took office. Biden was one of them.”
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Twitter slammed for letting White House make ‘clearly false’ vaccine claim
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