Twitter Inc on Tuesday said it has limited access to Donald Trump Jr’s account for 12 hours because a tweet he had posted violated the social media site’s misinformation policy on Covid-19, Reuters reported. The eldest son of the United States president had reportedly reshared false claims about the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.
According to a screenshot shared by an adviser to Trump, Andrew Surabian, Twitter suspended Trump Jr’s account for violating its policy on spreading “misleading and potentially harmful” information about coronavirus. “Big Tech is the biggest threat to free expression in America today and they’re continuing to engage in open election interference,” he tweeted.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Surabian also said that “it is beyond the pale for Twitter to silence someone for sharing the views of medical professionals who happen to dissent with their anti-Hydroxychloroquine narrative”.
However, the social media giant said it had only required the president’s son to delete the tweet with false claims about coronavirus. “We did not suspend the account,” a Twitter spokesperson told Reuters. “The screenshot shared directly says that Twitter required the tweet to be deleted because it violated our rules, and that we would limit some account functionality for 12 hours.”
Trump Jr had shared a video posted by a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, which accused US health expert Anthony Fauci and the Democrats of suppressing the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19, according to The Verge. “This is a must watch” read Trump Jr’s now-deleted tweet. “So different from the narrative that everyone is running with.”
It also included a link to another tweet – which has also been deleted – that discounted the need for face masks amid the pandemic. The video was also taken down by Facebook and Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube after being widely shared.
The American president himself has frequently touted the hydroxychloroquine for its effectiveness to stave off Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and has even claimed to use it himself. Last month, Donald Trump had said that other countries provided “great reports” on the effectiveness of the anti-malarial drug and only American agencies have failed to grasp its benefit.