19.05.2022

Twitter stops Trump campaign from tweeting again until false coronavirus claim is deleted

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Donald Trump’s campaign Twitter account must remove a post containing misinformation about Covid-19 before it is allowed to post, the platform announced on Wednesday.

The post from Team Trump contains footage from an interview with Fox News in which the president falsely claims that children are “almost immune” from the disease, a remark he walked back during a White House briefing by saying that children are able to “throw it off” and are less likely to get sick compared to adults. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts have found that children are equally vulnerable to transmitting the virus.

Facebook removed a similar post from its platform on Wednesday, claiming that “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”.

The president shared the @TeamTrump post to his page on Wednesday afternoon. A broken link to the video now says that the post “violates the Twitter Rules”.

“The original Tweet from @TeamTrump is in violation of the Twitter Rules on Covid-19 misinformation, and we’ve required removal,” said Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio.

More than 240,000 children in the US have been confirmed as having been infected with Covid-19, according to the CDC. More than 4.7 million people have tested positive, and more than 157,000 people have died.

Twitter has previously labelled several posts from the president’s @realDonaldTrump account as misleading.

The company also limited access to Donald Trump Jr’s account after demanding that he remove a post with misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been promoted by the president to treat the disease, despite warnings from health officials that its efficacy is not conclusive and could be dangerous. He returned to the account to criticise a new line of Barbie dolls.

Facebook removed dozens of Trump campaign ads attacking antifascist demonstrators and “left-wing mobs” that contained a symbol used by Nazis to identify political opponents.

“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organised hate,” a Facebook company spokesperson told The Independent. “Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”

In recent weeks, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also have removed a four-minute video from the president’s accounts over a copyright complaint, and Facebook and Twitter removed a manipulated video targeting CNN.

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