U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters gathered to greet him on the airport tarmac during his arrival at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Facebook deleted a post by President Donald Trump Wednesday for violating its policy against spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Twitter also temporarily blocked the Trump campaign account from tweeting until it removed the same video. The video in question was an interview with Fox & Friends in which President Trump urged schools to reopen, claiming that children are “almost immune to this disease.”

Andy Stone, 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.” In an email to PCMag, a Twitter spokesperson similarly stated that the @TeamTrump tweet was “in violation of the Twitter rules on COVID-19 misinformation” and stated that the account must remove the tweet before being able to tweet again.

Recently, a transmission study in South Korea found that children aged 0-9 may spread COVID-19 to a lesser degree than adults. However, children aged 10-19 can spread the coronavirus at rates similar to adults. The study noted that a report from Shenzhen China showed the proportion of infected children increased from 2% to 13% during the outbreak, “suggesting the importance of school closure.”

Courtney Parella, the White House’s deputy national press secretary, said, “The president was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus. Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this president, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.” Fox & Friends similarly addressed the removals, with host Brian Kilmeade stating, “Absolutely incredible. All of those great doctors in Silicon Valley will decide what is right and what is wrong.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Facebook removes Trump post over coronavirus misinformation rules; Twitter also clamps down – Fox News – 8/5/2020
In the removed video, the president told Fox & Friends that schools should remain open. “My view is that schools should be open,” Trump said. “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.” He added that children have “much stronger immune systems” and “just don’t have a problem.”

Facebook and Twitter removed a Trump video for Covid misinfo — and it revealed something about Fox News – CNN – 8/6/2020
Facebook and Twitter took action against President Trump and his campaign Wednesday night over a video posted in which he falsely claimed that children are “almost immune” to the coronavirus. And it wasn’t just any video that Trump shared with his supporters. It was a clip from his morning chat with “Fox & Friends.”

Facebook, Twitter Punish Trump over Video Claiming Children are ‘Almost Immune’ from COVID – National Review – 8/6/2020
This is not the first time Twitter has taken action against Trump for spreading what it deems false information. The site has flagged several of Trump’s tweets about coronavirus and mail-in voter fraud as misinformation and even blocked his son Donald Trump Jr. from tweeting for 12 hours after he shared a video featuring coronavirus misinformation.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Pull Trump’s Posts For Violating COVID Misinformation Rules – Truthout – 8/6/2020
Even though children are less likely to die or require the same amount of care from the disease as adults are, saying they are “almost immune” from coronavirus is a false notion that may give off the wrong impression to parents, particularly those who are supporters of the president, putting their children at risk as a result.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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