Facebook, Twitter pull Trump posts over COVID-19 misinformation

Donald Trump addresses a pandemic briefing in the White House in Washington, US, August 5, 2020 [Joshua Roberts/ Reuters]

Facebook Inc has taken down a submit by US President Donald Trump, which the corporate mentioned violated its guidelines towards sharing misinformation concerning the coronavirus.

The submit contained a video clip, from an interview with Fox & Friends earlier on Wednesday, wherein Trump claimed that kids are “virtually immune” to COVID-19.

“This video consists of false claims {that a} group of individuals is immune from COVID-19, which is a violation of our insurance policies round dangerous COVID misinformation,” a Facebook spokesman mentioned.

A tweet containing the video that was posted by the Trump marketing campaign’s @WorkforceTrump account and shared by the president was additionally later hidden by Twitter Inc for breaking its COVID-19 misinformation guidelines.

A Twitter spokesman mentioned the @WorkforceTrump account proprietor can be required to take away the tweet earlier than they may tweet once more.

The Trump marketing campaign accused the businesses of bias towards the president, saying Trump had acknowledged a reality.

“Another day, one other show of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias towards this president, the place the principles are solely enforced in a single route,” mentioned Courtney Parella, a spokeswoman with the marketing campaign.

“The president was stating a indisputable fact that kids are much less inclined to the coronavirus,” she mentioned in an announcement, including: “Social media firms should not the arbiters of reality.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has mentioned that whereas adults make up a lot of the identified COVID-19 instances up to now, some kids and infants have been sick with the illness and so they may also transmit it to others.

An evaluation by the World Health Organization of 6 million infections between February 24 and July 12 discovered that the share of youngsters aged 5-14 years was about 4.6 p.c.

But throughout a briefing on the White House on Wednesday, Trump repeated his declare that the virus had little affect on kids.

“Children deal with it very nicely,” he advised reporters.

“If you take a look at the numbers, when it comes to mortality, fatalities … for kids below a sure age … their immune programs are very very robust and really highly effective. They appear to have the ability to deal with it very nicely and that is based on each statistical declare.”

How possible kids are to contract or unfold the coronavirus has grow to be a deeply contentious subject within the US, with reopening colleges important to enabling many dad and mom to return to work.  

Trump has been calling for each companies and colleges to reopen as a part of a push to revive the US economic system, whose well being will play a significant factor within the coming presidential election.

But a rising variety of US college districts have opted towards in-person courses come September, selecting to stay online-only till the pandemic has abated.

Facebook’s motion towards Trump on Wednesday marks the primary time it had eliminated a Trump submit for coronavirus misinformation, the corporate’s spokesman mentioned.

It additionally gave the impression to be the primary reported occasion of the social media firm taking down a submit from the president for breaching its misinformation guidelines.

The social media large had positioned a disclaimer final month on a submit from Trump claiming mail-in voting would result in a “corrupt” election, and in June it eliminated advertisements by Trump’s marketing campaign containing an emblem utilized by Nazi Germany.

The firm was below intense stress to clamp down on misinformation – which has flourished through the pandemic – together with from world leaders, till just lately protected by its hands-off coverage on political speech.

Twitter has taken down a submit retweeted by Trump pointing to a deceptive viral video concerning the coronavirus, however left up clips of the president suggesting scientists ought to examine utilizing gentle or disinfectant on sufferers.

Twitter mentioned these remarks expressed a want for remedy, quite than a literal name for motion.

It additionally left up a March submit from Tesla Inc’s outspoken CEO Elon Musk stating that “youngsters are primarily immune” from the virus.

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