- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday cracked on President Trump’s posts about the coronavirus for allegedly spreading false information online.

Mr. Trump published posts about the coming flu season and the federal government’s response — posts that rankled both companies. The companies said Mr. Trump violated their policies about misinformation surrounding COVID-19.

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet, which now has been flagged by Twitter. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

Twitter restricted the visibility of Mr. Trump’s tweet and the rate at which it is being shared — retweeted and liked — on its platform.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,” Twitter wrote in a message attached to Mr. Trump’s tweet. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Facebook removed an identical post on its platform entirely.

“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Washington Times.

While neither company explained specifically which part of the tweet violated its rules, the death count attributable to the flu cited by Mr. Trump appears to be the offending component. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 22,000 people died from the flu last year. Since 2010, the CDC’s estimate of flu deaths has ranged from a low of 12,000 in 2011-2012 to a high of an estimated 61,000 in 2017-2018.

Following the action taken against his accounts, Mr. Trump issued a call to undo Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects companies such as Facebook and Twitter from legal liability from material posted by users on their platform.

“REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

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