Fact Check: Is The White House Working With SMS Carriers to Curb Vaccine Misinformation?
Headline Roundup July 14th, 2021
The White House and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) dispelled rumors that they are working with cell phone carriers to monitor and fact-check private text messages, after a Politico article Monday said the Biden administration and the DNC were "planning to engage fact-checkers more aggressively and work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages." White House and DNC officials reportedly told the Washington Examiner Wednesday that the speculation is false. One of the authors of the Politico article, Natasha Korecki, tweeted clarification, saying, "it’s allied, private groups that are working with SMS carriers – not the White House", and that the groups do not have the ability to read individual texts "aside from the ones they receive themselves." The rumor comes as the White House turns to a more focused approach to vaccinate all Americans against COVID-19 amid the spread of the Delta variant.
Some outlets on the left, including Politico, highlighted conservative groups who criticized the Biden administration's door-to-door vaccine efforts, and framed those groups as "fearmongers" spreading disinformation. Some right-rated outlets highlighted other ways political officials from both parties monitor mass text messages from the other side.
Arecent article published by Politico about COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy also discussed a new plan by White House allies that has left some people worried. The story mentioned that the White House was looking into increasing its fight against vaccine misinformation sent through SMS and text messages. One of the authors of the article later addressed some questions about the story, clarifying a few points that weren’t originally shared.
The Biden administration is casting conservative opponents of its Covid-19 vaccine campaign as dangerous and extreme, adopting a more aggressive political posture in an attempt to maneuver through the public health conundrum.
The White House has decided to hit back harder on misinformation and scare tactics after Republican lawmakers and conservative activists pledged to fight the administration’s stated plans to go “door-to-door” to increase vaccination rates. The pushback will include directly calling out social media platforms and conservative news shows that promote such tactics.
Speculation that President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee are petitioning cellphone carriers to monitor and edit private text messages is false, DNC and White House officials tell the Washington Examiner.
Still, political operatives from both parties have made a practice of monitoring mass text blasts from the other side in recent years as SMS marketing has exploded as a tool for political campaigns, fundraising groups, and even private sector businesses.
The notion of new Democratic-backed SMS surveillance popped up in conservative circles after Politico published an article Monday that included a line that the DNC and other...
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