Today, Facebook removed, and Twitter placed an interstitial, or filter, on a post from President Donald Trump in which he stated that COVID-19 is less lethal “in most populations” than the “Flu”:
Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!
“Facebook has been criticized for not removing posts that violate community guidelines in a timely manner,” said Axios, “yet the company sprung to action when Trump posted misinformation about the virus that ‘could contribute to imminent physical harm.’ Twitter took action about 30 minutes later.”
Twitter’s interstitial claimed that the tweet “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” Although Twitter did not remove the tweet entirely, users must click “view” in order to see the tweet.
“We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy by making misleading health claims about COVID-19. As is standard with this public interest notice, engagements with the Tweet will be significantly limited,” a Twitter spokesperson told Axios.
Facebook, however, decided that it would not allow users to access Trump’s post even if they wanted to. The platform removed the post completely. “We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post,” a Facebook spokesperson told Axios.
In recent months, both Facebook and Twitter have censored Trump on numerous occasions. Facebook and Twitter have removed or labelled multiple posts from Trump. On September 3, for example, Facebook flagged Trump’s post that told voters how to make sure their votes have been properly collected and tabulated. Last month, Twitter flagged a satirical video tweeted by Trump parodying the Biden “Despacito” disaster. Earlier this month, the Twitter flagged another tweet from the president urging North Carolina voters to confirm that their votes are counted in the upcoming election. In June, Twitter also labeled a meme video that Trump posted as “manipulated media.”