After Facebook and Twitter clamp down, Trump tells Geraldo he’s being unfairly censored
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President Donald Trump said social media companies are unfairly censoring him after Twitter and Facebook blocked a video shared by accounts linked to the president for violating their policies on coronavirus misinformation.
Appearing on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show Thursday on WTAM in Cleveland, Trump said “of course” he’s being censored as well as “anybody on the right… any Republican, any conservative Republican is censored. And look at the horrible things they say on the left.” Trump said, alluding to allegations that posts made by liberals are not taken down.
On Wednesday, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook testified via video teleconferencing at a hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. Among the broad range of topics covered, the Big Tech CEOs were confronted with concerns about alleged political bias and their effect on U.S. democracy.
The Trump re-election campaign’s Twitter account, @TeamTrump, was briefly banned from sending new tweets after it posted a clip of an interview Trump did Wednesday with Fox News in which he said children were “virtually immune” from the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Children “don’t have a problem, they just don’t have a problem,” Trump said in the video as part of an argument for why schools should reopen, contradicting medical authorities who say children can get sick. “It doesn’t have an impact on them. I’ve watched some doctors say they’re totally immune.”
Trump posted the same video to his account on Facebook, which removed the clip shortly before Twitter froze the campaign’s account. Both social-media companies have policies that forbid sharing misleading information about the coronavirus that could cause people harm.
On Thursday, Trump said: “Every doctor is saying what I’m saying – not every doctor, I guess, there’ll be some that won’t.”
The @TeamTrump account resumed posting Wednesday evening after the video appeared to have been taken down. “The original Tweet from @TeamTrump is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation, and we’ve required removal,” according to a post from Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio. Though the president also shared the video on his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, that account wasn’t punished because the clip was re-shared from the campaign’s feed instead of uploaded directly, Twitter said.
Twitter, which had for years been criticized for its lack of action against Trump’s controversial tweets, has taken a more aggressive stand in recent months.
In late May, the company flagged two Trump posts about mail-in ballots, part of a new policy preventing false or confusing information related to voting. Shortly after that, Twitter highlighted another tweet for violating its rules against glorifying violence when Trump tweeted that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a reference to protests against police brutality and racism in Minneapolis.
Facebook has also been under fire for what critics say is a failure to enforce its rules against Trump. In early July, an outside auditor found Facebook didn’t enforce its own voter suppression policies against the president when he posted misleading information about mail-in ballots.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has said that fighting misinformation on covid-19 is easier than on other topics because the company has reliable sources to help determine what is true, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Trump’s comments on children and Covid contradicted what officials at those organizations say about the virus.
<img src="https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.640589.1596915594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.jpg" data-caption="President Donald Trump gestures as he boards Marine One at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.
SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD/WHITE HOUSE”>
<img src="https://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.640591.1596917026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.jpg" data-caption="A tweet by President Trump with a rule-violation notice that includes the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" on a smartphone in an arranged on May 29, 2020.
A tweet by President Trump with a rule-violation notice that includes the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” on a smartphone in an arranged on May 29, 2020.