Social media giants Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday took action against United States President Donald Trump and his 2020 election campaign team for making false claims about the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.
Facebook removed from Trump’s official account the post of a video clip from a Fox News interview in which he had said that children are “almost immune” from the novel coronavirus. He had also said that he believes schools should reopen in the country. Twitter hid a tweet from the Team Trump campaign account with the same video, and banned it from tweeting.
“If you look at children, children are almost – and I would almost say definitely – but almost immune from this disease, and they have stronger immune systems,” Trump said in the clip. The World Health Organization has repeatedly indicated that children can also get the virus.
Twitter has earlier this year flagged several of Trump’s tweets for misinformation, and blocked his son, Donald Trump Jr, for 12 hours for flouting its coronavirus information rules.
On Wednesday, Twitter said it hid the campaign’s post and said the account wouldn’t be able to tweet again until the tweet is deleted. However, Team Trump has the right to appeal against Twitter’s decision. Twitter Spokesperson Liz Kelley said: “The tweet 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.”
Trump’s personal account had also tweeted the video, but deleted it soon after his Team Trump account was blocked. A Trump campaign spokesperson refused to comment on the controversy.
According to Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone, “This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation.”
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, over 2.4 lakh children have contracted the coronavirus in the country. Around 300 children have contracted a rare inflammatory disease due to the virus, and six have succumbed to the disease.
In June, Facebook said it had removed advertisements for Trump’s 2020 reelection bid that featured a symbol used in Nazi Germany, BBC reported. In response, Trump’s campaign team claimed that far-Left group Antifa used the symbols instead. The 2020 United States Presidential Elections are due on November 3.
The United States has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. As of Thursday morning, the country had reported over 48.2 lakh infections and more than 1.58 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.