Facebook froze the page of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for violating its policy against the spread of COVID-19 disinformation, the company confirmed on Saturday. As first reported by Reuters, Maduro had promoted a “miracle” cure that he said would cure the coronavirus, but those claims have not been supported by the medical community.
Facebook also deleted a video in which Maduro touted Carvativir, a homeopathic remedy made from thyme. Maduro has praised the solution in the past as “miracle drops” and “medical breakthrough.” Venezuelan doctors have called Maduro’s claims that Carvatavir can treat the coronavirus “dangerous.”
This is not the first time Maduro has made false claims about coronavirus treatments on his social media platforms. Last March, Twitter deleted one of Maduro’s tweets endorsing an “infusion” that he said could “remove infectious genes” from COVID-19. The deletion came despite Twitter’s stance against the deletion of tweets from world leaders unless the tweets explicitly break its other rules.
Facebook has attempted with mixed success to tackle the spread of coronavirus misinformation throughout the pandemic, adopting policies requiring the removal of posts that could cause “imminent physical damage.” It has expanded the policy to demand the removal of false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, including conspiracy theories and false claims about vaccine safety and side effects. It also applied labels to posts with incorrect coronavirus information and guided users to accurate information from trusted medical sources.
A Facebook spokesperson said in an email to The edge Saturday that the company is following guidelines from the World Health Organization which says there is no cure for the coronavirus. “Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which time it will be read-only. “
Updated March 27 at 10:15 a.m.ET: Add a comment from the Facebook spokesperson