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Social media giants Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday took action to shut down a video interview shared by President Donald Trump’s accounts, wherein he stated that children are “almost immune” from coronavirus.
Facebook removed a post from Trump’s page where a video clip was uploaded containing misguided facts about COVID-19. Twitter also followed suit. It blocked the Trump election campaign account from tweeting until it removed the same video interview from Fox News, where Trump pushed for the reopening of schools amid the pandemic situation.
Both social media companies said the post violated their rules against spreading COVID-19 misinformation. While studies prove that children have fewer chances of getting infected by the coronavirus than adults, they are still susceptible to contracting and spreading the disease, which already claimed over 700,000 lives.
“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,” a Facebook spokesman said.
It was the first time that Facebook has taken down a post by the president for violating its drive to eradicate COVID-19 misinformation. In June, the Menlo Park-based company removed ads posted by Trump’s reelection campaign page for a different reason when it featured a Nazi symbol that spread misleading claims in the 2020 census.
Trump’s campaign account on Twitter accused the social media sites of bias against the president, stressing that his claim is a fact.
“Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this president, where the rules are only enforced in one direction.”Courtney Parella, Trump campaign spokeswoman
Contrary to what Trump himself and his supporters insist, an analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted from February 24 up to July 12 found that children aged 5-14 years share about 4.6 percent of the six million recorded infections.
But in a White House briefing on Wednesday, the president reiterated his claim that the novel coronavirus had minimal effect on children.
“Children handle it very well. If you look at the numbers, in terms of mortality, fatalities … for children under a certain age … their immune systems are very, very strong and very powerful. They seem to be able to handle it very well, and that’s according to every statistical claim.”President Donald Trump