Twitter shuts down Trump Jr's account for posting coronavirus misinformation video
The Twitter account of Donald Trump Jr. was temporarily suspended on Tuesday for posting a video featuring a doctor making false claims about hydroxychloroquine and stating that people "don't need masks" to prevent the virus from spreading, a Twitter spokesperson said Tuesday.
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube removed the video after it started to go viral.
Twitter said that it ordered the president’s son to delete the misleading tweet and that it would “limit some account functionality for 12 hours.” Trump Jr. can still direct-message followers using his account, but he cannot tweet, retweet or like other tweets during the 12-hour restriction, according to the Washington Post.
Trump Jr.'s deleted tweet now shows a notice that says, “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”
Twitter removed the videos, deleting several of the tweets that President Trump shared, and added a note to its trending topics warning about the potential risks of hydroxychloroquine use.
“Tweets with the video are in violation of our covid-19 misinformation policy,” Liz Kelley, a spokeswoman for Twitter, told The Washington Post.
It’s the first time Trump Jr. has had his tweeting privileges removed by the company, although Rudolph W. Giuliani, a fellow surrogate for the president, had his account temporarily locked in March for tweeting misinformation about hydroxychloroquine. Trump Jr. retweeted a tweet from his father’s reelection campaign earlier this year that Twitter labeled as violating its policy on manipulated media.
Andy Surabian, a spokesman for Donald Trump Jr. told the BBC the decision had been "beyond the pale".
"Twitter suspending Don Jr for sharing a viral video of medical professionals discussing their views on hydroxychloroquine is further proof that big tech is intent on killing free expression online, and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices," he said.
"While there is indeed much disagreement in the medical community about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus, there have been studies reported by mainstream outlets like CNN, suggesting that it may in fact by an effective treatment.
"Those pretending otherwise are lying for political reasons."