Facebook, Twitter Block Trump’s Post Falsely Comparing Coronavirus And Flu

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Facebook and Twitter took action on Tuesday against a post from President Donald Trump mistakenly claiming that seasonal flu is deadlier than coronavirus.Facebook deleted the post and Twitter added a tag warning of misinformation about the coronavirus before a user could click to view it. Twitter also blocked sharing of the tweet.

“As is the norm with this public service notice, engagement with the Tweet will be significantly limited,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC.

In the post, which was shared on both Facebook and Twitter, Trump said, “Flu season is approaching! Many people each year, sometimes over 100,000 people, and despite the vaccine, die from influenza. Are we going to close our country? “No, we have learned to live with it, just like we learn to live with Covid, in most populations that are much less fatal !!! ”

As of Tuesday morning, the Covid-19 pandemic has so far sickened more than 7.45 million people in the United States, and at least 210,195 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 22,000 people died from the 2019-2020 seasonal flu. The deadliest influenza season since 2010 was in 2017-18, with around 61,000 deaths, according to the CDC.

“We are removing the incorrect information on the severity of Covid-19 and have now removed this post,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC.

Facebook was the first to take action against the post just before 11 a.m. ET. Trump’s post lasted more than three hours before Twitter tagged it. More than 31.5 million people follow Trump’s Facebook account. He has more than 87 million followers on Twitter.

After Twitter and Facebook reported his posts, Trump tweeted “REPEAL SECTION 230 !!! ”

Article 230 of the Decency of Communications Act enables online platforms to moderate and remove harmful content without being penalized.

In May, Trump signed an executive order aimed at the legislation, citing alleged “censorship” by platforms. The order came shortly after Twitter first added a fact-checking tag to its tweets.

The two social media platforms have at times disagreed when it comes to removing posts that violate their respective policies. Earlier this summer, Trump published stories about protesters after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police. Twitter placed a tag warning users about Trump’s violent rhetoric, while Facebook dropped the post altogether.

Correction: The title of this story has been updated to state that Twitter did not delete Trump’s tweet, but prevented it from being shared and hid it behind a warning label.

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