Twitter Removes Tweets by Brazil, Venezuela Presidents for Violating COVID-19 Content Rules
Twitter has made good on its promises to crack down on tweets that contain misleading information about COVID-19. The platform has deleted tweets by the presidents of Brazil and Venezuela and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for violating its ban on novel coronavirus-related content that “goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.”
“We’re focused on protecting the public conversation and helping people find authoritative sources of information on Twitter. There have been a number of measures we’ve taken in regard to COVID-19,” a Twitter spokesperson said to The Verge. “We’ll continue to review and require the removal of Tweets that do not follow the Twitter Rules. This is an evolving global conversation and we’re committed to remaining vigilant.”
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil had two tweets removed on Sunday which included videos of him endorsing hydroxychloroquine and calling for an end to social-distancing efforts. Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are still unproven as potential treatment options for COVID-19. Bolsonaro said in one of the videos that he has been hearing from Brazilians that they want to return to work. “Brazil cannot stop or we’ll turn into Venezuela.”
Facebook also removed a video of Bolsonaro from its main social network and Instagram. “We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that violates our Community Standards, which do not allow misinformation that could lead to physical harm,” said Facebook in a statement about the removal to The Verge. Facebook removed the video because of Bolsonaro’s endorsement of hydroxychloroquine.
Twitter had earlier removed a tweet by Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro that endorsed a “brew” that would “eliminate the infectious genes” of the novel coronavirus. Twitter has had a long-standing position against removing tweets by world leaders unless the tweets violated Twitter’s rules with no room for interpretation.