Twitter restricted the ability of Donald Trump Jr. to tweet for a 12-hour period, after the president’s son posted a link to a video spreading misinformation about the effects of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
The social network required Trump Jr. to delete the tweet with the video link, which violated Twitter’s rules about sharing harmful info related to the coronavirus pandemic. While in the penalty box, Trump Jr.’s account is unable to tweet, retweet or like posts.
Twitter’s PR team, in response to false claims that it had permanently suspended Trump Jr.’s account, posted in a statement, “This account has not been permanently suspended. Per the screenshot, the Tweet requires deletion because it violates our rules (sharing misinformation on COVID-19), and the account will have limited functionality for 12 hours.”
Trump Jr., in the now-deleted tweet in question, wrote, “This is a much [sic] watch!! So different from the narrative that everyone is running with.”
The viral video that Donald Jr. — and his father — had tweeted was posted by Breitbart News. The video, from a group calling itself “America’s Frontline Doctors,” purported to show a group of medical professionals. In the video, they make misleading or outright false claims related to the coronavirus, including saying that masks are not necessary and that hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for COVID-19. The video was viewed millions of times on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube before each of the services pulled it for policy violations.
While President Trump and other right-wing figures have touted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19, the FDA has said the drug is “unlikely to be effective” in treating the virus. Last month, the agency nixed its emergency-use authorization of hydroxychloroquine.