Facebook recently began really cracking down on the amount of misinformation being spread on their service, at least when it came to posts about the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve even punished the most powerful person in the world. On Wednesday, the social media site completely removed a post made by noted non-MLB guest pitcher Donald J. Trump which claimed that children are “almost immune” from the virus — a claim that has been debunked as untrue.
The post actually contained a video of him, in an interview with Fox News, in which he made the claim in response to pushback against his repeated pleas to reopen schools in the fall, despite the fact that the pandemic is still at peak powers in the U.S. On top of spreading the false claim that children are “almost immune,” the president added that they ” have much stronger immunes system than [adults].” (He posted this on Twitter as well, though that appears to have been taken down as well.)
Despite Trump’s claims, a growing body of research seems to suggest that children can transmit COVID-19 just like everyone else, but are by and large (though not entirely) asymptomatic.
According to Business Insider, this is the first time a Trump post has been entirely taken down. In late July, Facebook and Twitter merely censored a post he made that included a video of doctors claiming that hydroxychloroquine could be used by everyone to combat COVID-19. But they merely deleted the video, not the entire post.
In the past Facebook has applied fact-checking labels to some of Trump’s other misleading posts, including one about mail-in voting, and took down a campaign ad that contained Nazi symbols. Still, CEO Mark Zuckerberg refused to take down some of his other controversial posts, including one that suggested violence should be used against Black Lives Matter demonstrators.
UPDATE: On Wednesday evening, Twitter temporarily suspended the Trump campaign’s account for posting misinformation about COVID.
The tweet, a video of Trump’s interview with Fox News in which he said children are “almost immune” to the virus, “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on Covid-19 misinformation,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.”
(Via Business Insider)