President Donald Trump has once again found himself at odds with social media fact-checkers.
After he stated that children were “almost immune” to COVID-19 and his campaign posted a clip of those comments to Facebook and Twitter, both platforms responded by removing the posts and placing restrictions on the associated accounts, as reported by the Daily Caller.
“A violation of our policies”
While politicians have long been associated with exaggerated or hyperbolic rhetoric, Trump’s supporters argue he is not given this consideration when it comes to his online comments.
According to NPR, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone issued a statement confirming the company had taken action in response to the post and explaining the rationale behind that decision.
“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,” he said.
As for Twitter, that platform chose to remove the video and temporarily suspend the Trump campaign account responsible for posting it until the video had been taken down.
Spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said the tweet “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation” and the “account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.”
“Not the arbiters of truth”
Courtney Parella, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary, reacted to Facebook’s move by declaring that the president had been “stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus” in the now-removed clip.
“Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction,” Parella said. “Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.”
As for what Trump actually said in the Fox News Channel appearance, many Americans might wonder what Facebook and Twitter found so objectionable about it.
“If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease,” Trump said.
While all voters should expect political leaders to be held accountable for their words, many critics of the nation’s tech giants see their recent moves as motivated by politics, not a desire for the truth.