Facebook removes Donald Trump post for coronavirus misinformation

6 August 2020, 00:26

Donald Trump's Facebook post was removed for spreading misinformation
Donald Trump's Facebook post was removed for spreading misinformation. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Facebook has removed a post on Donald Trump's personal page after he claimed that children are "almost immune" from coronavirus.

The footage was taken from a phone interview the US President conducted with Fox News on Wednesday morning, during which he was talking about children returning to schools.

Mr Trump then shared the video on both Facebook and Twitter, but the former has since taken the post down saying it violated their guidelines.

"This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation," said Andy Stone, a Facebook policy spokesperson.

Mr Stone added that it was the president's repeated claims about children being "virtually immune" that contradicted Facebook's rules about misinformation.

See the video in question below

During the interview, Mr Trump explained that he believed schools should reopen because coronavirus would "go away like things go away."

He said: "My view is that schools should reopen. If you look at children, children are almost - and I would almost say definitely - but almost immune from this disease.

"They've got much stronger immune systems than we do, somehow, for this and they don't have a problem, they just don't have a problem."

Mr Trump then referenced the state of New Jersey, saying there was only one person there under the age of 18 who had died with Covid-19.

However, New Jersey's Health Department records show that two children have died with the disease.

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A link to the post now diverts to a page that says the content is no longer available
A link to the post now diverts to a page that says the content is no longer available. Picture: Facebook

He continued: "It doesn't have an impact on them. I've watched some doctors say they're totally immune. I hate to use the word totally because the news will say 'he used the word totally and he shouldn't have used that word'.

"But the fact is that they are virtually immune from this problem and we have to open our schools."

The UK's NHS website states that children can contract coronavirus, but that "they seem to get it less often than adults and it's usually less serious."

Scientific advice on the UK Government's website states: "There is a moderate to high degree of confidence that the susceptibility to clinical disease of younger children (up to age 11 to 13) is lower than for adults.

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"However, it remains important that protective measures are put in place to help reduce the risk of transmission.

"For older children, there is not enough evidence yet to determine whether susceptibility to disease is different to adults."

The largest study done so far, involving more than 55,000 hospital patients, found that only 0.8 per cent of Covid patients in the UK were under the age of 19 and there is still uncertainty about the risk children pose in spreading the virus.

Facebook's decision to remove the post is the first time it has done so for Mr Trump with regard to information about coronavirus.

In June, the social media giant removed ads posted by the Trump campaign which featured a symbol used by Nazis to classify political prisoners during World War II.

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