By Mike Murphy
Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. on Wednesday removed posts by President Donald Trump that violated their coronavirus misinformation policies.
The identical posts were a video clip from a Fox News interview with Trump about reopening schools, in which he wrongly claimed children are “virtually immune” to COVID-19.
While children appear to be generally less affected by the coronavirus, they are not “virtually immune,” and a number have died. The state of California, for example, has recorded more than 48,000 cases of COVID-19 in patients 17 and younger.
A Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +5.30% spokesperson said in an email: “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.”
However, that message was not included on Facebook’s site. The post was replaced by a message reading “This content isn’t available right now,” which does not explain why it was removed or that its content was inaccurate.
It was the first time Facebook has taken down a Trump post for violating its coronavirus rules. In June, Facebook took down Trump campa ign ads that included a Nazi symbol, and in March took down Trump campaign ads that were misleading about the census .
Trump’s official campaign account — which Trump retweeted — posted the same video on Twitter, which has been more active than Facebook at taking down presidential posts that violate guidelines. It was up for at least five hours before being taken down, with a note reading: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.”
A Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +3.05% spokesperson confirmed the tweet was removed for being in violation of the company’s rules on COVID-19 misinformation. Twitter added that the Trump campaign’s official account will be blocked from posting again until the video is removed.
Trump has harshly criticized social-media companies for fact-checking and removing his posts, and in July the Trump administration asked the FCC to reinterpret a 1996 law that gives broad latitude to how tech companies police content on their sites.