- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2020

Twitter took action against conservative commentators Diamond and Silk, briefly muting their popular account Wednesday over a posting about the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson for Twitter said the duo’s shared account on the social media service was temporarily locked by the company after it was found in violation of its “COVID-19 misinformation policy,” which the platform recently introduced to curb the spread of bogus content involving the potentially deadly infectious disease caused by the coronavirus.

Twitter confirmed the pair’s account was prohibited from posting until it removed a tweet containing unqualified advice directly at odds with the guidance of public health experts.

“The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment. Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!” the verified @DiamondandSilk account tweeted.

More than 500 other Twitter users shared the pair’s tweet before the company locked their account, which boasts about 1.4 million followers and has been amplified repeatedly in the past by President Trump.

Twitter eventually lifted the lock after the offending tweet was removed by the account holder, a spokesperson for the company told The Washington Times.

Under policies put in place by Twitter last month in response to the coronavirus pandemic, users are prohibited from sharing “content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.”

Twitter’s policy indicates that users will be asked to remove tweets like Diamond and Silk’s, who are legally known as Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, respectively.

“Denial of global or local health authority recommendations to decrease someone’s likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 with the intent to influence people into acting against recommended guidance, such as: ‘social distancing is not effective,’ or actively encouraging people to not socially distance themselves in areas known to be impacted by COVID-19 where such measures have been recommended by the relevant authorities,” according to Twitter’s policy.

Groups including the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control have urged people to practice social distancing measures, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force has recommended avoiding groups and working from home when possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Most governors have enacted statewide travel and business restrictions in the form of sweeping stay-at-home orders covering the vast majority of Americans, meanwhile.

Other high-profile Twitter users previously found in violation of the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy include Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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