Twitter, stepping up its enforcement of misleading and harmful coronavirus-related claims, required Fox News host Laura Ingraham to delete a tweet from 10 days ago that misrepresented details of an unproven treatment for coronavirus.
In the now-deleted tweet from March 20, Ingraham, host of the cable network’s “The Ingraham Angle,” wrote, “Lenox Hill [Hospital] in New York among many hospitals already using Hydroxychloroquine with very promising results. One patient was described as ‘Lazarus’ who was seriously ill from Covid-19, already released.” Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug that Donald Trump has repeatedly touted as potential COVID-19 treatment.
The tweet was based on Ingraham’s interview on the Fox News show with Dr. William Grace, whom Ingraham incorrectly identified as being an oncologist at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital. A correction Fox News later appended to an article about the segment said Ingraham had wrongly described Dr. Grace as affiliated with the hospital and that “his opinions given below are his own.”
A Twitter rep confirmed to Variety that Ingraham’s tweet fell under the company’s policy banning “misleading information” under heightened-risk health claims. On Monday, the social network required Ingraham to remove the violating tweet in order for her account to not be suspended. A rep for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, Twitter expanded the criteria of what constitutes harmful misinformation on the platform as it relates to the coronavirus. The policy broadly prohibits “content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information” and includes a ban on posting information about “harmful treatments or protection measures which are known to be ineffective, do not apply to COVID-19, or are being shared out of context to mislead people.”
The removal of Ingraham’s tweet comes after Twitter last Friday took down a tweet from ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, which quoted a post by a conservative writer suggesting that hydroxychloroquine had a “100% effective rate treating COVID-19,” as reported by Mediaite. Twitter also deleted tweets by the presidents of Brazil and Venezuela for posting misinformation about the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Twitter has not taken action against Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s March 19 tweet, in which he said in part, “Kids are essentially immune” from COVID-19. The company said that in reviewing the “overall context and conclusion” of Musk’s tweet, it determined the post did not violate rules, according to the Verge.