Facebook and Twitter have taken action against US President Donald Trump, after he used the social media platforms to spread misleading information about COVID-19, downplaying the virus by claiming it was “far less lethal” than the seasonal flu.
“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” Trump posted on the social media platforms.
Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
Facebook has since deleted the post, while Twitter has hid Trump’s message behind a warning that has flagged it as “misleading and potentially harmful information”.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” Twitter said.
Trump has responded by tweeting, “REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” which is a law that absolves social media companies from responsibility for content that is posted to their platforms.
The death toll in the United States has now surpassed 210,000, the highest number of deaths of any country in the world.
Donald Trump, still infected with COVID-19, is currently back at the White House after a short stint in hospital. He returned in dramatic fashion, riding a helicopter to the lawn of the White House, where he removed his mask standing on the balcony.
In a video, Trump said he feels better than he did 20 years ago, telling Americans, “don’t let it dominate, don’t let it take over your lives”.
“I had to do it. I stood out front, I led. Nobody that is a leader would not do what I did. I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger, but that’s ok,” he said.
He said he is now better, and could be “immune” from COVID-19. He also said Americans should “get out there”, conflicting public health messages distributed by his own administration.
FEELING GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
In a separate post, Trump indicated he will participate in the presidential debate with Joe Biden next week in Miami, despite being infected.
“It will be great!” he said.
At the White House, Trump has access to an in-house medical unit and team. He has also been given access to an experimental course of drug treatment, unavailable to everyday Americans.