Pop star Selena Gomez this week accused Facebook of allowing “lies” about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine to spread on its platform, saying the social media giant will be “responsible for thousands of deaths if they don’t take action now!”
The Rare Beauty founder took to Twitter in response to a BBC News interview with Center for Countering Digital Hate CEO Imi Ahmed, who said social media companies are not doing enough to combat misinformation.
“The truth is, we’ve been gaslit by social media companies who say they’re doing their utmost, but in reality, they’re doing absolutely nothing,” Ahmed told the BBC.
Gomez shared the video, writing that “scientific disinformation has and will cost lives.”
“@Facebook said they don’t allow lies about COVID and vaccines to be spread on their platforms. So how come all of this is still happening? Facebook is going to be responsible for thousands of deaths if they don’t take action now!” she wrote.
Scientific disinformation has and will cost lives. @Facebook said they don’t allow lies about COVID and vaccines to be spread on their platforms. So how come all of this is still happening? Facebook is going to be responsible for thousands of deaths if they don’t take action now! https://t.co/IAtDpNT5Tt— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) December 29, 2020
Facebook announced earlier this month that it would be removing false claims about “safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects” of the coronavirus vaccines.
Critics have blasted Facebook, saying the platform has become a breeding ground for misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines began in the U.S. earlier this month.
In a statement to Billboard following Gomez’s post, a Facebook spokesperson said the company is “committed to reaching as many people as possible with accurate information about vaccines, and launched partnerships with WHO [World Health Organization] and Unicef to do just that.”
“We've banned ads that discourage people from getting vaccines and reduced the number of people who see vaccine hoaxes verified by the WHO and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC,” Facebook said in a statement. “We also label Pages and Groups that repeatedly share vaccine hoaxes, lower their posts in News Feed, and do not recommend them to anyone. We continue to remove accounts and content that violate our policies and are the only company to work with over 80 fact-checking organizations around the world."
This isn’t the first time that Gomez has criticized Facebook.
Earlier this month, she said she was “speechless” after the Center for Countering Digital Hate said neo-Nazis were selling racist products on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
In September, she shared a screenshot of a message she sent to Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Amazon draws COVID scrutiny Meta exec who co-founded Diem digital currency leaving the company Two lawyers who filed suit challenging election results ordered to pay nearly 7K MORE as well as Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg regarding hate speech.
"I am calling on you both to HELP STOP THIS. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech, violence and misinformation. Our future depends on it,” she wrote. “This is an election year. We cannot afford to have misinformation about voting. There has to be fact checking and accountability. Hope to hear back from you ASAP.”