Mark Zuckerberg knows how bad Facebook’s misinformation problem is because the White House has told him directly

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing harsh criticism from President Biden’s White House over vaccine misinformation.

“I’ve told Mark Zuckerberg directly that when we gather groups of people who are not vaccinated, and we ask them, ‘Why aren’t you vaccinated?’ and they tell us things that are wrong, tell us things that are untrue, and we ask them where they’ve heard that. The most common answer is Facebook,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Kara Swisher on “Sway,” her New York Times podcast.

“And so we know it has become a giant source of misinformation and disinformation about the vaccines,” Klain added.

The last time the Klain and Zuckerberg spoke, he urged the CEO to “do better” at moderating COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on Facebook.

“His response was he cited the efforts Facebook was undertaking to try to put out good information, and I told him I recognize that Facebook is a source of a lot of good information about vaccines,” Klain said on the podcast. “But it also unfortunately is a source of a lot of bad information about vaccines.”

In a statement to Insider, a Facebook representative said the company has, “removed more than 18 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram that violate our COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policies, and labeled more than 167 million pieces of COVID-19 content rated false by our network of fact checking partners.”

Facebook has struggled and occasionally outright refused to moderate speech on its platforms.

A Wall Street Journal report from May 2020 revealed that executives, including Zuckerberg, declined to moderate the service even when faced with evidence that its algorithms, “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness.” And in 2019, the company took a hard stand on fact-checking political ads in the lead up to the tumultuous presidential election.

Klain said he urged Zuckerberg to be extra vigilant on vaccine misinformation given the seriousness of the situation: Nearly 4 million people have died worldwide from COVID so far, according to the World Health Organization.

“I’ll let Mark Zuckerberg speak for himself, he certainly can,” Klain said. “But there is just no question that a lot of misinformation about the vaccines is coming from postings on Facebook. And this is a life or death situation here.”

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Guy Fieri says he’s ‘pissed’ at politicians and explains why restaurant closings are ‘only going to get worse’

Guy Fieri speaks at Guy Fieri's Restaurant Reboot at The Culinary Institute of America in St Helena, California.
Food Network star Guy Fieri.

  • Food Network host Guy Fieri aired his frustrations with how Congress has handled restaurant relief.
  • Fieri said he’s “pissed” that the airline industry got more direct funding.
  • In 2020, restaurants employed around 13 million people to just under 600,000 for airlines.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Restaurateur and Food Network star Guy Fieri unloaded on politicians and lobbyists in a new podcast interview.

The self-proclaimed Mayor of Flavortown has been raising money for struggling bars and restaurants throughout the pandemic, with the industry still down about 1.5 million jobs since March 2020.

Fieri, who recently inked a $80 million deal with the Food Network to make the “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” host the highest-paid TV food personality, spoke with veteran tech reporter and New York Times opinion columnist Kara Swisher on her podcast “Sway.”

He argued bars and restaurants haven’t gotten the same level of attention and support from Congress as the airline industry because they don’t have the same lobbying firepower.

Before March 2020, restaurants employed more than 13 million people nationwide, whereas the airlines held a little under 600,000, according to the consumer data firm Statista. Airlines got an industry-specific $25 billion bailout by mid-March, while restaurants had to wait a year for a $28.6 billion allocation from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

“I mean, I’m pissed. It’s because there’s not enough unification,” Fieri told Swisher. “We all love each other in the restaurant business … But airlines have big, powerful money and attorneys and lobbyists. And we’ve got home-built restaurant companies that were passed down from a restaurant, that were passed down from generations, with not as much energy and power and unification.”

Although Fieri initially told Swisher he needed to “bite my tongue a little bit,” the interviewer renowned for her red chair and pointed questions got him to open up.

“The only advocacies we really have working for us are our state associations, like California Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association,” Fieri said.

“And I think it has to do with anything we see in government and politics and so forth,” he later continued. “It’s loud voice, power, and money.”

Fieri outlined several of the same issues fellow food TV personality Jon Taffer described to Insider back in October 2020, when he interviewed then-President Donald Trump about how to save the restaurant industry after months of lockdowns and limited capacity.

After warning Swisher not to “get me riled up on this sh-t,” Fieri explained where he thinks government is dropping the ball when it comes to struggling restaurants.

“I’d say you put regulations on everybody for everything,” he said. “And forever, it’s been impossible – especially in certain states, certain counties – impossible to get liquor delivered. When this all happened and things are blowing up and people are sinking, all of a sudden, people started figuring out, well, wait a second … We can do this.”

Fieri credited federal and state governments for swiftly lifting certain regulations during the pandemic, such as to-go cocktails, but questioned why that decisiveness hasn’t gone further.

“But if we have the ability to move that quickly, let’s continue,” he said. “Take a second, please, and look at this group of people that are far more important than just putting food in your mouth … I mean, this isn’t just about food, you know?”

The Food Network host also compared the restaurant labor shortage and extended unemployment benefits to someone wanting Doritos over broccoli, arguing that payments need to be rolled back to get people back to work, though experts have cautioned against solely attributing the labor shortage to unemployment benefits.

“So for me, no, you can’t sit on your ass and expect that it’s going to come to you,” he said, “because it’s not.”

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