Thursday 6 August 2020 9:36 am

Twitter bans Donald Trump’s presidential campaign over coronavirus fake news

Twitter last night banned Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from tweeting until it agreed to remove a video spouting fake news about coronavirus.

In the most sweeping action taken by the social media platform in its 14-year history, Twitter last night temporarily froze the President’s Team Trump campaign account after it was found to breach company policy about misinformation.

Read more: Donald Trump questions accuracy of South Korean coronavirus stats

Team Trump posted a video from a TV interview in which the President claimed children are “almost immune” from coronavirus.

In reality, initial research has shown that children spread the virus as easily as adults, while many have died from the disease.

A spokesperson for Twitter said the Team Trump tweet “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on Covid-19 misinformation”. 

In the first action of its kind against the President, Facebook also removed the offending video from its platform.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “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.”

It comes as both Twitter and Facebook have heavily censored claims about coronavirus that contradict advice from health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) during the pandemic. 

Both companies have argued that such posts require significant policing because they pose a clear risk of real-world harm.

However, the moves mark a turning point for the social media platforms, which have historically proven reluctant to censor content on their sites.

Read more: Twitter faces $250m fine after US data probe

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has repeatedly said he does not want Facebook to be the “arbiter of truth”, has recently had to grapple with wide-scale advertising boycotts over the platform’s content policy.

Twitter, meanwhile, has long been associated with the President, with many claiming Trump’s use of the platform proved vital for his presidential campaign success in 2016.

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