Social Media

Twitter limits sharing on Trump’s tweet about Coronavirus

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Twitter has disabled some sharing options on a tweet from President Trump saying it violated the social media platform’s rules about misleading information related to COVID-19.

The tweet read, “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune) and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!”

Twitter has labeled this tweet for violating the platform’s rules against spreading Covid-19 misinformation.

Twitter’s disclaimer read, adding that it had determined that it may be in the public interest for the tweet to remain accessible, “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and harmful information related to COVID-19.”

Despite the label, the tweet is still available for those who click through the warning, in keeping with Twitter’s position that keeping tweets from elected officials visible is in the public interest. Any attempts to share the tweet bring up an alert saying, “We try to prevent a Tweet like this that otherwise breaks the Twitter Rules from reaching more people.” Though, labeled tweet is still able to be quote-tweeted.

Trump said in the tweet that he had fully recovered and would not be a transmission risk to others. The president’s assertion that he’s now immune since he already contracted the coronavirus is likely what led to the tweet being flagged since there have been documented cases of coronavirus patients becoming re-infected.
A Twitter spokesperson remarked that the tweet made misleading health claims about COVID-19 disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has limited information about Covid-19 reinfections and it says, “An individual who has recovered from COVID-19 infection may still have low levels of virus in his body for about up to 3 months after diagnosis, and medical science does not imply a person is immune to reinfection from the virus.”

Other than updating its policies last month that it would label or remove tweets with false information about election rigging and results, Twitter also said it would label posts from candidates prematurely declaring victory. And back in March Twitter had also said that it was taking a zero-tolerance approach to coronavirus misinformation on its platform.

Last week’s updates on Twitter also made rules more stringent around spreading misinformation, and encouraged users to quote-tweet and add their own note to tweets before retweeting. The update also included options to flag or remove tweets meant to incite interference in the election or election results, and remove tweets from political figures with more than 100,000 followers.

It is not the first time the platform has disabled sharing on a tweet by President Trump containing incorrect information Twitter has labeled several of Trump’s tweets for violating its policy on manipulated media and election integrity for tweeting wrongly about mail-in voting.