Facebook, Twitter Take Action After Trump Spreads More False Information

Shortly after testing positive, Trump has already gone back to posting messages that threatens society – and Facebook and Twitter have already taken action.

It was only two days ago that Twitter had to remind users that posting comments wishing for the death of the president violated their rules. This after impeached US president, Donald Trump, tested positive for COVID-19. The repercussions include having your account suspended if users violate the rules.

As Trump spent time in the Walter Reed Medical Center, doctors pretty much threw everything they could to help the president recover from the deadly disease. This includes a number of experimental drugs that haven’t necessarily been proven to help combat COVID-19. Many news outlets describe the treatment as a “cocktail” of medications among other things.

Whatever the doctors did, it seemed to have worked. The high risk president is currently feeling better. While he does have to spend time in quarantine (some reports suggest he’s already violated that), he is on the mend for the time being.

As it turns out, he didn’t waste time becoming a threat to the health of American society. In a series of comments, the diseased president compared COVID-19 to the flu. He also said that COVID-19 shouldn’t be something to be afraid of.

Obviously, this sort of messaging is false. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been a total of “34,200 deaths from influenza” in 2018-2019. According to Worldometers, there is a total, so far, of 216,784 deaths so far this year. So, that number only stands to keep getting higher.

It appears that this is the sort of thing Facebook and Twitter already know. According to CNBC, Facebook deleted the post for obviously violating the rules. Twitter, meanwhile, added a warning label to the Tweet. From CNBC:

Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday took action against a post from President Donald Trump that falsely claimed the seasonal flu is more deadly than the coronavirus.

Facebook removed the post, and Twitter added a label warning of misinformation about the coronavirus before a user could click to view it. Twitter also prevented the tweet from being shared.

“As is standard with this public interest notice, engagements with the Tweet will be significantly limited,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC.

In the post, which was shared on both Facebook and Twitter, Trump said: “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

What is particularly striking is how quickly the worry about Trump opponents posting messages wishing for his death vanished. This has been replaced by how Trump and his supporters spread false information that threatens the health of American’s. Moreover, the debate pretty much instantly shifted to whether or not social media treats everyone fairly given how much Trump has seemingly flaunted the rules without risk of his accounts being suspended.

Still, it should go without saying: do not, under any circumstances, take medical advice from Trump. This is the same president who suggested that people drink bleach to cure COVID-19. Sadly, those comments did compel some of his supporters to actually drink bleach. Calls to poison control spiked as well after the president’s comments. If that isn’t a big enough reason to never take Trump’s medical “advice”, nothing will.

At any rate, it seems that social media is, once again, having to deal with the president’s comments. What’s more is that they have to also grapple with the fact that they threatened people with suspensions if they so much as wished ill will for the president, yet when the president himself posts harmful content, a suspension is out of the question. While it goes without saying that hoping for someone’s death is not something that should be tolerated, there is the risk of being seen as having a set of rules for the privileged Republican’s and another set of rules for everyone else.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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