Updated 07 October 2020 | 12:12 IST
Twitter and Facebook took action against posts from U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday for violating their rules against coronavirus misinformation by suggesting that COVID-19 was a bit like the flu.
Facebook took the post down but not before it had been shared about 26,000 times, data from the company’s metric tool CrowdTangle showed.
“We remove misinformation about the severity of COVID-19,” a corporation spokesman told Reuters.
Twitter disabled retweets on an identical tweet from Trump on Tuesday and added a warning label that said it broke its rules on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information associated with COVID-19” but that it’d be within the public interest for it to stay accessible.
During the 2019-2020 influenza season, the flu was related to 22,000 deaths within the US, consistent with estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the primary cause of the novel coronavirus was recorded within the US at the start of this year, quite 210,000 people within the country have died of the disease caused by the virus, the world’s highest price.
On Monday, Trump told Americans “to get out there” and not fear COVID-19 as he returned to the White House after a three-night stay during a hospital outside Washington where he was treated for COVID-19.
“Silicon Valley and therefore the mainstream media have consistently used their platforms to fearmonger and censor President Trump to serve their own agenda, even now during this critical moment within the fight against coronavirus,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Courtney Parella said.
Twitter, which has been using labels to flag tweets with misinformation – including from the president – told Reuters it’s currently trying to reply more quickly and more overtly.
Facebook removed a Trump post for coronavirus misinformation for the primary time in August. The post included a video during which the president falsely claimed that children were “almost immune” to COVID-19.