Facebook has deleted a post by US President Donald Trump for the first time, saying it violated its policy against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. The post in question featured a link to a Fox News video in which Mr Trump says children are “virtually immune” to the virus.
Facebook said 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”.
A few hours later, Twitter temporarily blocked the Trump campaign from tweeting from its account until it removed a post with the same video.
The company said in a statement late on Wednesday the tweet violated its rules against Covid misinformation. When a tweet breaks its rules, Twitter asks users to remove the tweet in questions and bans them from posting anything else until they do.
The removal of the post is a change of tack for Facebook, which has previously opted to label – rather than delete – misleading statements.
Several studies suggest, but do not 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 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention study involving 2,500 children published in April found that about one in five infected children were hospitalised compared to one in three adults.
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.