Here’s a quote from Dr. Vivek Murthy that will not surprise you: “As surgeon general, my job is to help people stay safe and healthy, and without limiting the spread of health misinformation, American lives are at risk.”

During the press briefing where Dr. Murthy’s advisory was being discussed, White House press secretary Jen Psaki specifically called out Facebook, citing evidence that “there are about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation.”

First, I am fully vaccinated (as is my entire family), and unless your doctor tells you otherwise (always check with your doctor), you should be, too.

That said, this press briefing bothers me. One the one hand, I applaud Dr. Murthy’s warning that misinformation is a public health hazard. It clearly is. Tragically, several anti-vaxxers have died from COVID this past week. Reports of Olivia Guidry, RN, BSN’s death went viral on social media, and one of her last tweets is the very definition of misinformation. (Her @olivia_guidd account has been removed from Twitter, but I easily found the tweet and related meme.) What I could not find was verification that any of what I was reading was true.

On the other hand, I’m wondering if the government is preparing to use the health department as an additional weapon in its war on social media platforms and big tech. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it?

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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