(Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Wednesday took over the post of US President Donald Trump, who the company said violated its rules against sharing misinformation about the coronavirus.
The post contained a video from an interview with Fox & Friends earlier in the day in which Trump claimed that the children were “almost immune” to COVID-19.
“This video includes false claims that a group of people have been immunized with COVID-19, which is a violation of our policies regarding harmful misinformation about COVID,” a Facebook spokesman said.
A Twitter spokesman said the owner of the @TeamTrump account would be required to remove the tweet before he could tweet again.
The Trump campaign has accused companies of bias against the president, saying Trump has stated a fact. “Social media companies are not arbiters of the truth,” said Courtney Parella, a campaign spokeswoman.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that while adults make up most of the known cases of COVID-19, some children and babies have had the disease and may pass it on to others.
An analysis by the World Health Organization of 6 million infections between February 24 and July 12 found that the proportion of children aged 5-14 was about 4.6%.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. During a White House briefing, Trump reiterated that the virus has little effect on children.
“The children are doing very well,” he told reporters. “If you look at the numbers in terms of mortality, deaths … for children under a certain age … their immune system is very, very strong and very powerful. It seems they can do very well, and that’s according to any statistical statement. . “
This was the first time Facebook removed Trump’s coronavirus disinformation post, a company spokesman said.
It also turned out to be the first reported case of a social media company removing a president from office for violating its misinformation rules.
Twitter downloaded a post posted by Trump, pointing to a misleading viral video about the coronavirus, but left videos of the president suggesting that scientists should study using light or disinfectant on patients.
Twitter said the remarks expressed a desire for treatment, not a literal call to action.
He also left a dirty post from Tesla Inc’s outspoken CEO Elon Musk, saying that “children are essentially immune” to the virus.
In recent months, Facebook has taken warmth from lawmakers and its own employees for not taking action on inflammatory posts by Trump.
Earlier, the company removed ads from Trump’s election campaign for violating disinformation rules, in this case around a national census.
She also removed both Trump’s publications and advertising campaigns showing a red inverted triangle, a symbol used by the Nazis to identify political prisoners, to violate its policy against organized hatred.
(Report by Elizabeth Couliford in Birmingham, England; Additional reports by Munsif Wengattil in Bengaluru, Alexandra Alper in Washington and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Edited by Richard Pullin and Christopher Cushing)