Facebook pulls video from Trump's page labelling it as COVID-19 misinformation

Social media giant says Trump's claims about children being immune to coronavirus violated its policies around harmful misinformation.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

A video posted from the Facebook page of United States President Donald Trump has been pulled down by the social media giant as it violated the company's COVID-19 misinformation policies.

The video showed footage from a Fox News interview, where Trump was pushing for the reopening of schools. During the interview, he said children are "virtually immune" to coronavirus.

"If you look at children, children are almost -- and I would almost say definitely -- but almost immune from this disease. So few -- they've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they've got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," the president said during the interview.

"They just don't have a problem."

The video, which is no longer available on Facebook, is still available on Trump's Twitter account, where it has clocked over 916,000 views.

"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," Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement issued to sister site CNET.

Facebook's community standards outline what is and what is not allowed on Facebook, and was crafted based on feedback from its "community" and the advice of experts in fields such as technology, public safety, and human rights.

"We want people to be able to talk openly about the issues that matter to them, even if some may disagree or find them objectionable," Facebook writes.

"In some cases, we allow content that would otherwise go against our Community Standards -- if it is newsworthy and in the public interest. We only do this after weighing the public interest value against the risk of harm and we look to international human rights standards to make these judgments."

The social network said the consequences for violating its standards vary depending on the severity of the violation and the person's history on the platform.

"For instance, we may warn someone for a first violation, but if they continue to violate our policies, we may restrict their ability to post on Facebook or disable their profile," the standards note. "We may also notify law enforcement when we believe that there is a genuine risk of physical harm or a direct threat to public safety."

While the video is still available via Trump's own Twitter account, his campaign account was asked to remove the post. According to a Washington Post report, Twitter said it will require the account to remove the post, or the account will be banned from tweeting until it does so as the tweet is "in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation".

Twitter was previously accused by Trump of "interfering" with the 2020 presidential election, after the company slapped fact-checking links on his tweets that claimed mail-in voting would lead to a "rigged election".

Updated 11:06am AEST Wednesday August 6, 2020: Added banning of Trump's campaign account until its copy of the video is removed.


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