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Facebook, Twitter penalize President Trump citing virus misinformation, reports say

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 05: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump administration officials and Democratic Congressional leaders continue to negotiate on an extension of the unemployment benefits and an additional coronavirus economic stabilization and relief package.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP/WFLA) – The Washington Post reports Twitter will require President Trump’s campaign account to remove a post containing coronavirus misinformation, banning the account from tweeting until it does so.

Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley told the Washington Post that the tweet “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation. The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.”

President Trump did tweet the campaign’s video, however, the post now reads “this tweet violated the Twitter Rules.” The action was only taken to Trump’s campaign account, his main account, according to CNN.

The post in question featured a link to a Fox News video in which Trump says children are “virtually immune” to the virus.

Facebook deleted the same post by President Donald Trump, saying that the “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.”

Twitter has been quicker than Facebook in recent months in labeling posts from the president that violate its policies against misinformation and abuse.

This was the first time that Facebook has removed a post from Trump entirely, rather than labeling it, as it has done in the past.

Several studies suggest, but don’t prove, that children are less likely to become infected than adults and more likely to have only mild symptoms. But this is not the same as being “virtually immune” to the virus.

A CDC study involving 2,500 children published in April found that about 1 in 5 infected children were hospitalized versus 1 in 3 adults; three children died. The study lacks complete data on all the cases, but it also suggests that many infected children have no symptoms, which could allow them to spread the virus to others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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