Facebook has removed a post from Donald Trump’s page for spreading false information about the coronavirus, a first for the social company that has been harshly criticized for repeatedly allowing the president to break its content rules.
The post included video of Trump falsely asserting that children were “almost immune from Covid-19” during an appearance on Fox News. There is evidence to suggest that children who contract Covid-19 generally experience milder symptoms than adults do. However, they are not immune, and some children have become severely ill or died from the disease.
“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 spokesperson said.
During a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Trump repeated his false claims about children and the disease.
Trump’s presidential campaign and tenure in office have been defined by his aggressive use of social media platforms to spread racism, xenophobia, threats, and misinformation. For years, the US-based social media platforms that enabled his broadcasts were hesitant to enforce their own rules against him.
But the combined crises of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread civil unrest over the police killing of George Floyd appear to have inspired greater resolve among social media executives, with Twitter and Twitch taking action against Trump for threatening protesters, spreading misinformation about voting and, in Twitch’s case, using hate speech.
Facebook was a holdout, prompting anger among Democrats and civil rights activists who objected to the double standard that allowed Trump to continue to spread misinformation that would probably have been taken down if posted by other accounts.
While this is the first time that Facebook has taken action against Trump’s account for coronavirus misinformation, earlier this year the company did remove a series of ads and an organic post by the Trump campaign that featured a symbol historically associated with Nazis.
Source: Guardian UK