Pop

Selena Gomez Warns Facebook That Disinformation About COVID-19 Vaccines 'Will Cost Lives'

Selena Gomez isn't done talking about what's going on with Facebook. The singer fired off a pointed tweet on Tuesday (Dec. 29) decrying what she said was the social media giant's failure to stop the spread of misinformation about the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines that are rolling out across the country and the world.

"Scientific disinformation has and will cost lives. @Facebook said they don’t allow lies about COVID and vaccines to be spread on their platforms," wrote Gomez, who in September shared a private message she sent to FB founder Mark Zuckerberg and CEO Sheryl Sandberg about what she said were FB and Instagram's problem with spreading "hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry."

"So how come all of this is still happening?" Gomez's latest call-out continued. "Facebook is going to be responsible for thousands of deaths if they don’t take action now!" Her tweet included a link to a post from the Center for Countering Digital Hate in which the group's CEO, Imran Ahmed, spoke to the BBC News about what he said was the critical, widespread failure of major social media companies to remove coronavirus misinformation in the UK.

"We took a thousand bits of misinformation and got volunteers to report it using the platform’s own reporting systems,” Ahmed said. “And less than 5% of it was taken down. The truth is we’ve been gaslit by the social media companies, they say they’re doing their utmost. But in reality, they’re doing absolutely nothing." In early December, before the U.S. began distributing the two approved vaccines, the New York Times reported that FB pledged to remove posts containing claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.

At the time, FB said it planned to take down COVID-19 vaccine falsehoods completely if the claims were discredited or contradicted by health organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is another way that we are applying our policy to remove misinformation about the virus that could lead to imminent physical harm,” the company said in a blog post. “This could include false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of the vaccines.”

In a statement to Billboard on Wednesday, a spokesperson for FB said, "We are committed to reaching as many people as possible with accurate information about vaccines, and launched partnerships with WHO 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 CDC. 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. "

Check out Gomez's tweet below.