- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Madonna shared a video on Instagram falsely claiming a cure exists for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, prompting the social media service to intervene and censor the pop star’s post Tuesday.

Instagram hid the video behind a warning label that said it contains information that independent fact-checkers have determined to be false. It has since disappeared from Madonna’s account on the platform.

The video shared by Madonna featured Stella Immanuel, a self-described primary care physician, falsely claiming that COVID-19 can be cured using a drug that studies have found to be ineffective against it.

“The Truth will set us all Free,” Madonna wrote in the Instagram post where she promoted the clip. “This woman is my hero.”

It was not clear why Madonna’s post disappeared after first being flagged by Instagram, and a representative for the singer did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

Scientists have not identified an effective treatment or cure for COVID-19, which has infected millions of people worldwide since being brought to the attention of the World Health Organization in late 2019.

In sharing the clip suggesting otherwise, the iconic “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” singer placed herself among several prominent social media users to receive pushback for promoting the bogus claim.

“This is utter madness,” fellow singer Annie Lennox reacted to the since-removed post.

“I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery,” added the former Eurythmics singer, according to music site Stereogum. “Hopefully your site has been hacked and you’re just about to explain it.”

Several internet platforms have taken steps to keep versions of the same video from spreading after it began circulating online Monday. Twitter, for example, removed a tweet containing a clip that had been shared on the service by President Trump. It subsequently briefly suspended the accounts of Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, and Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, for sharing the footage in violation of the platform’s policy against spreading coronavirus misinformation. Each of those account holders responded by accusing Twitter of censorship.

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