For The First Time, Facebook Removes Trump Post, Citing Coronavirus Disinformation
Facebook took down a post from President Donald Trump citing coronavirus disinformation. In the video, Trump claimed children were immune to coronavirus.
Trump posted a video of his Fox News interview on Wednesday in which he pushed for schools opening and falsely claimed that children were “almost immune” to coronavirus.
“They’ve got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this,” Trump said. “They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.”
Researchers, however, do not support the theory. While many children might be asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, an assumption that children are immune to the virus is false. A new study from South Korea also suggests that children from 10 to 19 can spread the virus as much as adults.
“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,” a Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said.
“The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus,” said Courtney Parella, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, addressing to the Facebook post removal. “Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.”
It was the first time that Facebook took down Trump’s post due to disinformation on coronavirus. Previously, Facebook applied labels to Trump campaign posts because of a Nazi symbol or misleading information about in-mail voting. Still, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stood his ground on Facebook policies that refrain from policing politicians’ posts. He said such posts could be in public’s interest even if they are false and that Facebook does not want to be the “arbiter of truth.”
Facebook, however, implemented specific rules on misinformation amid the coronavirus pandemic in April. However, Facebook never blocked Trump’s posts, where he controversially suggested people should be injected with bleach to treat coronavirus.
Twitter on Wednesday also blocked the Trump campaign’s tweet with the same video, citing coronavirus disinformation. The account was blocked until they removed the video.