Facebook took down a post from President Trump’s personal page of a Fox News interview in which he said that children are “almost immune” from COVID-19.
“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,” Facebook said in a statement.
It was the first time Facebook has removed a post by the president for violating its policies on COVID-19 misinformation.
Twitter also took action late Wednesday.
“The Tweet you referenced is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation. The account owner will be required to remove the tweet before they can tweet again,” the company said in a statement to USA TODAY.
At issue: a video clip from an interview with Fox & Friends, which aired Wednesday morning, in which Trump said children should return to school because they are “almost immune” or “virtually immune” from the disease.
Doctors say children can catch – and pass on – the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives.
“The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus. Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction,” Courtney Parella, deputy national press secretary for Trump’s reelection campaign, said in a statement. “Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.”
Asked during the White House briefing Wednesday about his comments, Trump said: “If you look at children, they are able to throw it off very easily and it’s an amazing thing, because some flus they don’t, they get very sick. … They seem to be able to handle it very well, and that’s according to every statistic.”
The Fox interview was viewed nearly half a million times in the four hours before it was removed from Facebook. A link to Trump’s Facebook post now redirects to a page that says: “This Content Isn’t Available Right Now.”
The takedown comes as Facebook cracks down on false claims about the pandemic. Facebook has removed content shared by the president for violating other policies. In June, Facebook removed ads posted by Trump’s reelection campaign that featured a Nazi symbol. Facebook could not say how many times it has taken down Trump posts.