Facebook and Twitter delete Trump post over ‘harmful’ coronavirus misinformation

The US president violated regulations on both social media platforms by sharing a video claiming children are 'virtually immune' from the virus

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Washington. Facebook has deleted a post by President Trump for the first time, saying it violated its policy against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook said Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 that a video posted “includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation.” (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Both Twitter and Facebook have removed a post by President Donald Trump for violating their policies against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

Facebook removed a post containing a video from Mr Trump’s official account on Wednesday, saying it “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 few hours later, Twitter temporarily blocked his Team Trump campaign account from tweeting until it removed a post with a link to the same Fox News video, which shows the US president claiming children are “virtually immune” to the virus.

Mr Trump’s account retweeted the video.

Twitter said the tweet violated its rules against Covid misinformation. “The account owner will be required to remove the tweet before they can tweet again," Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said.

Twitter has generally been quicker than Facebook in recent months to label posts from the president that violate its policies against misinformation and abuse.

This is not the first time that Facebook has removed a post from Mr Trump, Facebook said, but it is the first time it has done so because it was spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. The company has also labelled his posts.

While some studies suggest that children are less likely to become infected with the coronavirus than adults and more likely to have only mild symptoms, scientific research has not proved this claim.

A US study involving 2,500 children published in April found that about one in five infected children were hospitalised versus one in three adults; three children died. The study by the Centres for Disease Control lacks complete data on all the cases, but it also suggests that many infected children have no symptoms, which could allow them to spread the virus to others.

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