Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Twitter suspends Donald Trump Jr over Covid-19 video

The account – with more than five million followers – was scrutinised after a dubious coronavirus treatment post

Donald Trump Jr posted content about a debunked Covid-19 treatment. Reuters
Donald Trump Jr posted content about a debunked Covid-19 treatment. Reuters

Donald Trump Jr, son of the US president, was suspended from Twitter on Tuesday after posting a misleading video about Covid-19.

His account, which has more than five million followers, was scrutinised by Twitter after he shared a video with dubious information about using anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19.

The video also played down the importance of using masks.

The US Food and Drug Administration has said the drug is ineffective in treating the coronavirus and medical experts have repeatedly issued warnings against using it.

Mr Trump’s account is still displayed as active on Twitter but his ability to tweet has been suspended for 12 hours.

Twitter initially asked the president's son to delete the post with the video, CNN reported.

On Monday evening, Facebook and YouTube deleted the same Breitbart video from its pages after it was viewed by more than 14 million people on Facebook.

President Trump tweeted on Monday night in several posts, but their content was removed by Twitter. The site added a trending topic later on the risks of hydroxychloroquine.

Mr Trump Sr has repeatedly criticised Twitter and accused it of limiting freedom of speech, especially conservative voices.

On Monday, he attacked Twitter’s trending section and described it as ridiculous for promoting topics hostile to him.

"So disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called 'Trending', where so many trends are about me, and never a good one," Mr Trump posted.

But the president still relies on the site to reach millions of his followers, and he remains one of its most prolific users.

Twitter explained its decision and said the hydroxychloroquine video broke its rules.

“This account has not been permanently suspended," it said. "The tweet requires deletion because it violates our rules (sharing misinformation on Covid-19), and the account will have limited functionality for 12 hours.”

But Andrew Surabian, a representative for Mr Trump Jr, criticised Twitter for silencing him.

“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," Mr Surabian said.

He said major technology companies were “the biggest threat to free expression in America today”.

Some conservatives have been promoting Parler, a social media outlet similar to Twitter.

The site describes itself as an alternative to Twitter but does not restrict its users' views.

Updated: July 29, 2020 02:45 AM

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