Twitter has partially suspended the account of Donald Trump Jr., the US president’s eldest son, because he shared a viral video containing misinformation about the coronavirus.
Trump’s account will have limited functionality for 12 hours after Trump violated the platform’s rules, Twitter said in a statement Tuesday.
According to a screenshot shared by Trump’s spokesperson, Andrew Surabian, Twitter sent Trump a notice that the company had “temporarily limited” some of his “account features.”
“It is beyond the pale for Twitter to silence someone for sharing the views of medical professionals who happen to dissent with their anti-Hydroxychloroquine narrative,” Surabian said in a statement.
Many public health officials — including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force — have said there’s no evidence to suggest hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned against using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 due to a risk of heart rhythm problems.
The partial suspension of Trump’s account was in response to a tweet he sent Monday evening that shared a video of doctors alleging that hydroxychloroquine can cure or prevent COVID-19.
“This is a much [sic] watch!!! So different from the narrative that everyone is running with,” Trump wrote in his tweet.
The tweet has since been removed by Twitter.
In its notice to Trump, Twitter stated that he violated the platform’s rules by “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
“Under this policy, we require the removal of content that may pose a risk to people’s health, including content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information,” the notice stated.
President Donald Trump also shared the video on Twitter on Monday as part of a series of retweets he did promoting hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment.
Asked why the president’s account was not partially suspended, Twitter said: “The President did not Tweet the video in question, he Retweeted it. Therefore, the account owner of the Tweet he Retweeted will face enforcement action.”
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have pulled the video, which was originally shared by right-wing news site Breitbart and features four people who identified themselves as doctors speaking in front of the Supreme Court building. The event, dubbed the “White Coat Summit,” was organized and sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots, a political group backed by wealthy Republican donors.
One speaker, Dr. Stella Immanuel, said face masks weren’t necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and alleged she had successfully treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.
She has also claimed that people who have sexual dreams about demons and witches may develop gynecological problems, and that extraterrestrial DNA is being used in medical treatments, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday.