WASHINGTON – In another battle between Twitter and the Trump administration, the social media company has taken action against President Donald Trump and his son for posts that promoted bogus cures for COVID-19.
Twitter removed a post that Trump had retweeted in which a doctor proclaims, without evidence, that “there is a cure” for the coronavirus.
The social media giant also restricted the account of Donald Trump, Jr., after removing a post in which doctors touted the alleged benefits of “hydroxychloroquine” in fighting the coronavirus. The president’s son was blocked from tweeting for 12 hours.
Protesting decisions by Twitter, Trump Jr. spokesman Andrew Surabian said that “Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices.”
President Donald Trump
Twitter, which has fact checked previous Trump tweets, said it was following its own rules prohibiting the dissemination of bad information about the virus that has claimed nearly 150,000 American lives.
The president’s re-tweet “was in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” Twitter said in statement.
As for the president’s son, Twitter sent a notice saying “we’ve temporarily limited some of your account features” for violating the policy on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
More: Twitter makes about-face on Trump tweets but stops short of banning the president
More: Trump’s social media order to have agencies review whether Twitter, Facebook can be sued for content
Most of the disputes revolve around efforts by Trump and allies to tout hydroxychloroquine, despite testimony from medical experts – including members of Trump’s own staff – that it is not effective in stopping the virus.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus, citing safety issues that included “reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.”
BREAKING: @Twitter & @jack have suspended @DonaldJTrumpJr for posting a viral video of medical doctors talking about Hydroxychloroquine.
Big Tech is the biggest threat to free expression in America today & they’re continuing to engage in open election interference – full stop. pic.twitter.com/7dJbauq43O
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) July 28, 2020
There is no known cure for the coronavirus, as scientists across the globe scramble to develop a vaccine.
Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine in a series of retweets late Monday. They included the retweet of a post attacking Anthony Fauci, a key member of the coronavirus task force, for dismissing the value of drug.
In an interview Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America, Fauci said he agreed with the FDA’s assessment of hydroxychloroquine and added that “I have not been misleading the public under any circumstances.”
Twitter removed a Trump retweet of a post featuring a Houston doctor named Stella Immanuel.
The Daily Beast reported that Immanuel has also said that face masks aren’t necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and has also made claims “about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams.”
Twitter has cracked down on Trump tweets before.
In May, Twitter fact-checked tweets by Trump claiming there was “no way” an election with mail-in ballots could be legitimate. The company also put a warning label on a Trump tweet in which he appeared to advocate the shooting of protesters by using the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Also that month, Trump signed an executive order asking federal regulators to review laws that protect websites from legal liability, a move that in theory would make it easier for people to sue companies like Twitter.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Twitter removes Donald Trump post touting a false ‘cure’ for COVID-19