Twitter freezes Trump Jr’s account over Covid-19 video

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Twitter has briefly suspended Donald Trump Jr from tweeting for violating its misinformation guidelines after he shared a video of politically affiliated medical doctors selling the usage of hydroxychloroquine to deal with coronavirus.

The social media platform stated on Tuesday that it required the president’s son to delete a tweet of the video as a result of it violated its guidelines on “sharing misinformation on COVID-19”. Twitter has restricted his account from posting or retweeting for 12 hours. 

Donald Trump himself additionally shared the video, which was eliminated and changed with a label from Twitter saying it was “now not out there”. He didn’t face the identical motion as his son, Twitter stated, as a result of he retweeted the video quite than posting it himself.

The choices observe comparable takedowns of the video by Fb and Google’s YouTube, only a day earlier than their respective chief executives, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, will testify earlier than Congress.

Whereas the hearings are centered on antitrust points, some Republicans have made clear they want to talk about whether or not social media platforms have censored political voices, notably conservative ones. 

Social media platforms face mounting stress from activists to police their websites extra successfully and clamp down on probably harmful coronavirus-related misinformation.

The controversial 45-minute video shared by the president’s son reveals a coalition of medical doctors referred to as “America’s Frontline Medical doctors” arguing that hydroxychloroquine is a treatment for coronavirus and that masks and shutdowns will not be mandatory. 

The group, whose web site was created lower than two weeks in the past, seems to be affiliated with an arm of the conservative Tea Social gathering referred to as the Tea Social gathering Patriots, which hosted and promoted the content material.

A number of clips of the video have been posted by rightwing information community Breitbart on Fb on Monday, garnering greater than 14m views in a matter of hours earlier than the social media platform eliminated them for “sharing false details about cures and coverings for COVID-19”.

The movies have been additionally faraway from Google’s YouTube for claiming a assured treatment for Covid, in addition to “explicitly [disputing] the efficacy of native wholesome authority beneficial steering on social distancing that will lead others to behave in opposition to that steering”, the corporate stated in a press release. 

Mr Trump has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, urging state governors to loosen lockdown restrictions and solely sometimes donning a masks in public. Nonetheless, as disapproval over his dealing with of the pandemic has grown, he has modified his tone, saying final week that the pandemic will “worsen earlier than it will get higher”.

However in one other obvious U-turn, the president has returned to selling antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a remedy for the virus, regardless of having been flagged as dangerous by US medicine regulators. In June, the US Meals and Drug Administration revoked its emergency approval for the as-yet untested drug. 

The US president has overtly sparred with web platforms akin to Twitter, crying censorship after they added warning labels to a few of his posts for violating guidelines on misinformation and hateful speech. 

Commenting on the choice by Twitter to limit the account of Mr Trump Jr, Andrew Surabian, a Republican strategist and adviser to the president’s son, stated: “Huge Tech is the most important menace to free expression in America right this moment & they’re persevering with to interact in open election interference — full cease.”

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