Facebook Removes Donald Trump Post For False Coronavirus Claim, While Twitter Briefly Restricts Campaign Account — Update

Ted Johnson
·3 min read

UPDATED, 7:41 PM PT: Facebook removed one of Donald Trump’s posts from its platform on Wednesday, concluding that it contained a video in which the president spread misinformation about the coronavirus. Twitter also required that a Trump campaign account remove the video before it could tweet again.

The posts featured a clip from a Fox News interview in which the president said that children are almost immune from the coronavirus. On Fox & Friends earlier on Wednesday, Trump said, “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few.”

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A Facebook spokesperson said that the clip “includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation or our policies around harmful COVID misinformation.” This was the first time that Facebook removed one of Trump’s posts for coronavirus misinformation. It’s still unclear the extent to which children contact the virus and spread it to other people.

The platform has been under pressure to take more aggressive action to remove or label posts that contain misinformation or hate speech. A Stop Hate for Profit campaign promoted an advertising boycott of Facebook in July, drawing more than 1,000 companies.

Twitter, meanwhile, restricted the @TeamTrump account from sending new tweets until it pulled the video.

The @TeamTrump, a company spokesperson said, “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation. The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.”

Twitter has sanctioned high profile users for COVID-19 misinformation. Last week, a number of features on Donald Trump Jr.’s account were temporarily suspended after he posted a video in which a group of doctors claimed that hydroxychloroquine was a “cure” for the virus.

In May, Twitter for the first time put a fact check label on two of the president’s tweets. Trump responded by issuing an executive order directing federal agencies to take steps to rollback liability protections for tech platforms.

Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for the Trump campaign, wrote on his own Twitter account, “The Twitter employee who announced to the world why the @TeamTrump account was briefly suspended is also Kamala Harris’s former press secretary. Silicon Valley is hopelessly biased against the President and only enforces the rules in one direction.” He was referring to Nick Pacilio, one of the spokespersons for Twitter.

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