White House Urges Big Tech to Censor Joe Rogan

The following is a transcript from the White House press briefing:

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Q    Sure.  Last week, the Surgeon General also was asked on MSNBC about Joe Rogan’s vaccine comments on Spotify.  And he said that tech companies have an “important role to play” in stopping misinformation because he — they are the “predominant places” where misinformation spreads. 

Spotify is putting out advisory warnings on episodes that have to do with COVID-19.  Does the White House and the administration think this is a satisfactory step?  Or do you — do you think that companies like Spotify should go further than just, you know, putting a label on there to say, “Hey, go do your own — you know, check this out.  You know, there’s more research you can look at — you know, scientific research regarding COVID”?

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MS. PSAKI:  Sure.  Well, last July, I — you probably know, but the Surgeon General also took the unprecedented step to issue an advisory on the risk of misinformation and public health, which is a very significant step.  And amid that, he talked about the role social media platforms have.

So our hope is that all major tech platforms — and all major news sources, for that matter — be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19.  And that certainly includes Spotifly [sic]. 

So, this disclaimer — it’s a positive step.  But we want every platform to continue doing more to call out misinform- — mis- and disinformation while also uplifting accurate information. 

I mean, look at the facts, right?  You are 16 times more likely to be hospitalized if you’re unvaccinated and 68 times more likely to die than someone who is boosted if you’re unvaccinated.  That’s pretty significant.  And we think that is something that unquestionably should be the basis of how people are communicating about it. 

But, ultimately, you know, our view is it’s a — it’s a — it’s a good step, it’s a positive step, but there’s more that can be done.