Twitter has announced that it will ban President Donald Trump's campaign account "Team Trump" from tweeting until it removes a post spreading misinformation about COVID-19. Facebook took similar action earlier today. Multiple social media companies have recently faced harsh criticism and advertiser boycotts over the amount of misinformation and dangerous content they have profited from.
The post in question appears to be a video clip of the President asserting that children are "almost immune" to the virus, which goes against supported scientific research. The tweet "is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation. The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again," said Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley.
As with all accounts temporarily banned on the social media platform, the campaign is free to appeal the decision. Until then, the site has hidden the post and locked the account.
Many people are saying — "If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but, almost immune from this disease," said Trump in the video, where he also asserted that they have stronger immune systems. Earlier today, Facebook also removed this clip from its site, a first for the company — though it has previously taken action against ads for the President's re-election which violated the site's "organized hate" rule by depicting Nazi iconography.
Arbiter of truth — Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has previously been hesitant to take any action against the President's dangerous and hateful speech, claiming that he didn't want the company to become "the arbiter of truth." Until recently, Twitter had similarly deemed the President's account too "newsworthy" to take action on. In a sign of progress, the company has since labelled the President's lies about mail-in ballots and misleading statements about the medication hydroxychloroquine with additional clarifications.
Reality — To clarify this misinformation: We would also be remiss not to note that children are not immune from COVID-19 and decisions about their care and protection should not be made as if they were.