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Twitter takes action against misinformation from U.S. President Donald Trump
The New York Times calls the video promoted on Trump's Twitter account on July 27 "the most recent example of misinformation that has spread" concerning the COVID-19
Edited by Zhang Shasha  ·  2020-07-31  ·   Source: Web Exclusive

Twitter removed a video promoted on President Trump's account on July 27 showing doctors standing in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington praising the benefits of using hydroxychloroquine to treat novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, according to Fox News. 

One of the doctors, Dr. Stella Immanuel, claimed that she treated more than 350 coronavirus patients and not a single one died after being administered hydroxychloroquine.  

The New York Times pointed to recent studies that have questioned the effectiveness of the treatment and called the video "the most recent example of misinformation that has spread" concerning the virus. 

The debate about the antimalarial drug has been raging for weeks and critics of Trump have accused him of overselling an unproven treatment. Trump's backers have accused social media companies of silencing what are considered fringe views on the disease. 

A Twitter representative told CNN that the action was taken “in line with” their coronavirus misinformation policy. It is not the first time that the social media giant took action to regulate Trump’s tweets. 

On July 19, Twitter disabled a campaign-style video retweeted by Trump, citing a copyright complaint. The video, which included music from the group Linkin Park, disappeared from the president’s Twitter feed with the notification: “This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.” 

Twitter removed the video, which Trump had retweeted from the White House social media director, Dan Scavino, after it received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice from Machine Shop Entertainment, according to a notice posted on the Lumen Database which collects requests for removal of online materials. 

“We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” a Twitter representative said in an email statement. 

The band tweeted that they had issued a cease and desist order over the video and that they did not endorse Trump. 

Twitter also removed an image the president tweeted on 30 June, which included a picture of Trump, following a complaint from the New York Times, whose photographer had shot the image. 

The company also put a tweet from the president behind a warning label in late May, saying that he had violated its rules against “glorifying violence” when he advocated that Minneapolis authorities be tough in responding to protests over the death of George Floyd. 

On June 23, Twitter took action against another tweet from Trump for warning that protesters trying to establish a cop-free zone in Washington, DC would be met with “serious force.” 

“There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” Trump wrote on Twitter. 

The move comes after the social media giant began policing and censoring its most prolific user earlier this year, garnering backlash from both the president and free speech advocates. 

It claims the president’s remarks violate the social media giant’s rules about “abusive behavior”, the third such move by the platform in recent months. 

The tweet is still available on Trump’s feed but is obstructed by the warning and prevented from being liked or retweeted. 

Last month, Twitter flagged one of Trump’s tweets with a public interest notice, claiming his statement, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” violated its policies pertaining to “the glorification of violence.” 

The social media giant also previously labeled missives from Trump about mail-in ballots as promoting misinformation and removed a video posted to one of his reelection campaign accounts for infringing copyright. 

The moves have infuriated the White House, with Trump signing an executive order weakening liability protections for social media companies. 

Edited version based on reports from Fox News, Reuters, the New York Times and New York Post 

Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey 

Comments to zhangshsh@bjreview.com   

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