Trump claimed in messages on Twitter and Facebook early Sunday morning that voting mailboxes “are not being cleaned by COVID” as well as a “voter safety disaster.”
Hours after Trump sent the tweet, Twitter took action, saying, “We placed a public service notice on this Tweet for violating our civic integrity policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially deter people from participating in the vote. ”
The tweet is now accompanied by the following full security advisory: “This Tweet violated Twitter’s rules on civic and electoral integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public interest for the Tweet to remain accessible. ”
Trump’s tweet saying that mail drop boxes are “not sanitized by COVID” confused scientists, who note that people are unlikely to catch the coronavirus from touching such a box. People can wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after touching objects, including mail drop boxes, noted Erin Bromage, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and a CNN contributor. .
“You can completely minimize the risk of infection by disinfecting your hands after you cast your ballot,” Bromage told CNN.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person and that if there is a possibility of infection from someone touching a surface, then their mouth , his nose or potentially his eyes, this is not the main route of spread of the virus.
The greatest risk of transmission occurs when people are crowded together in indoor spaces. “So while there is a theoretical possibility of viral transfer from a voting dump box, in reality the chances of this happening and leading to infection are low,” Bromage said.
Although the same message was posted on the president’s Facebook account, the tech giant had not taken specific action on the message on Sunday afternoon.
Facebook says it is attaching links to voter information to posts by politicians about the election – a policy that could cause more confusion, as CNN previously reported. Unlike Twitter, Facebook does not verify the facts about politicians.
CNN reached out to Facebook for comment.
Although Twitter tagged the president’s tweet, he said the tweet would remain on his platform “given its relevance to the ongoing public conversation.”
“People will be able to retweet with a comment, but not like, reply to, or retweet it,” Twitter said.
Twitter began tagging Trump’s tweets earlier this summer.
In May, Twitter said that Trump’s threat that “looting” would lead to “gunfire” amid protests after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police broke platform rules on the glorification of violence.
The same message appeared on Trump’s Facebook page but the company took no action against him. This decision led Facebook employees to publicly denounce the company.
However, Facebook has taken action against Trump since. Earlier this month, the company removed a video from Trump’s page in which he falsely claimed children were “almost immune” to COVID-19.