Facebook on Wednesday removed a video interview posted on the account of President Donald Trump in which he said that children are “almost immune” from Covid-19. Twitter later followed suit, blocking the president’s official re-election campaign account, @TeamTrump, from tweeting until it removed a link to the video. Twitter did not, however, restrict Trump’s other accounts, including his popular personal account.
The video segment comes from an interview with Fox News in which he advocated that schools should open, saying that in his view children are “almost definitely” immune from the coronavirus.
A link to the post tells users “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now.”
“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,” a Facebook spokesman told NBC News.
The removal is one of the few times Facebook has taken steps to moderate content posted by Trump.
It comes after criticism from Facebook employees, civil rights groups and advertisers after the company chose not to take action on a post by Trump in which he said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” referring to Black Lives Matter protests. Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout in protest, claiming the post violated the company’s community standards by inciting serious violence. Some advertisers are still boycotting the company, although it appears to have had little effect on Facebook’s business.
The move also comes the week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questioning from Republican members of Congress on the House Antitrust Subcommittee over whether Facebook systematically suppresses conservative viewpoints.
Separately, on Wednesday night Twitter said that the official campaign account for the president, @TeamTrump, would be banned from tweeting until it removed a tweet with a link to the video.
“The @TeamTrump Tweet referenced is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation,” said a spokesperson. “The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.
The account has about two million followers. President Trump’s official personal account, @RealDonaldTrump, which has more than 84 million followers, was not affected.