Twitter has banned Donald Trump Jr. from posting any tweets, claiming he shared ‘potentially harmful information’ after posting a link Monday evening to a viral video of a doctor claiming hydroxychloroquine is a ‘cure’ for coronavirus and calling it ‘must watch.’
His father also posted a link to the video through a retweet but was not locked out of his account. Twitter did not explain the discrepancy.
‘We’ve temporarily limited some of your account features,’ the Twitter notice to the president’s eldest son reads, adding it will be in effect for 12 hours.
‘We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically, for: 1. Violating the policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,’ it continued.
Andrew Surabian, a spokesman to Don Jr., posted an image of the notice to Twitter Tuesday morning, lamenting: ‘Big Tech is the biggest threat to free expression in America today & they’re continuing to engage in open election interference – full stop.’
The ban comes as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, prepare to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
The hearing will focus on big tech companies and potential antitrust law violations in the industry.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is not on the docket for the hearing Wednesday.
While Don Jr.’s account is in this restricted state, he can still send direct messages on the platform and browse Twitter.
He will not, however, be able to tweet, retweet, follow new accounts or like anyone’s tweets.
President Donald Trump also retweeted Monday night two posts of Dr. Stella Immanuel’s speech making dubious claims that the anti-malaria drug, claiming it has successfully cured people of the virus.
While Don Jr. and his spokesperson called Twitter’s move a suspension from using Twitter, the social media platform clarified in a statement Tuesday: ‘We did not suspend the account.’
‘The screenshot shared directly says that Twitter required the Tweet to be deleted because it violated our rules, and that we would limit some account functionality for 12 hours’ a Twitter spokesperson said.
Surabian said he would not accept that explanation.
‘When the features ‘temporarily limited’ are the abilities to tweet and retweet, what would you call that?’ he tweeted in response to Twitter’s statement. ‘Anyone with a functioning brain would call it a suspension, despite the BS word games @Twitter is playing here.’
Videos of Immanuel’s Friday speech, made outside the Capitol building, went viral on Monday – but were removed on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube for spreading misleading information.
The Houston pediatrician demanded the social media platforms reupload her videos, claiming God would crash their computers if they did not repost her speech.
‘Hello Facebook put back my profile page and videos up or your computers with start crashing till you do. You are not bigger that God. I promise you. If my page is not back up face book will be down in Jesus name,’ Immanuel said in a mistake-littered tweet Monday night.
While Immanuel has been embraced by Trump and his supporters, the doctor and religious minister has made some outlandish medical claims in the past.
She has often alleged that gynecological problems, like cysts and endometriosis, are actually caused by people dreaming about having intercourse with demons and witches.
Immanuel also claims scientists are working on a vaccine to prevent people from being born religious and asserts that alien DNA is used in modern-day medical treatments.
Donald Trump Jr. called Immanuel’s viral Friday speech a ‘must watch’ as he posted a link on his Twitter page, causing his account access to be limited by Twitter.
President Trump often lamented that there is social media bias against conservative voices.
‘Twitter suspending Don Jr. for sharing a viral video of medical professionals discussing their views on Hydroxychloroquine is further proof that Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices,’ Don Jr.’s spokesperson Surabian said in a statement on the incident.
‘While there is indeed much disagreement in the medical community about the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus, there have been studies reported on by ‘mainstream’ outlets like CNN, suggesting that it may in fact be an effective treatment,’ he continued. ‘Those pretending otherwise are lying for political reasons.’
‘[I]t is beyond the pale for Twitter to silence someone for sharing the views of medical professionals who happen to dissent with their anti-Hydroxychloroquine narrative,’ Surabian concluded.
Earlier this summer, President Trump also earned his first ever blue exclamation point when Twitter flagged two of his tweets claiming there are heightened instances of voter-fraud with mail-in ballots as ‘misleading.’
Another one of Trump’s tweets was hidden, with a prompt to reveal the contents of it, this summer after he threatened protesters in the Seattle Autonomous Zone with ‘force.’
‘There will never be an Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President,’ Trump tweeted at the time, referring to an area that was occupied by protesters. ‘If they try they will be met with serious force!’
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday morning also dismissed Trump’s Monday night Twitter rant, which included his post of Dr. Immanuel’s speech along with criticism of Fauci.
‘I don’t know how to address that,’ the nation’s top immunologist told Good Morning America regarding the president’s tweet storm. ‘I’m just going to, certainly, continue doing my job.’
‘I, you know, I don’t tweet, I don’t – I don’t even read them,’ Fauci, 79, told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos. ‘So I don’t really want to go there.’
Trump went on a Twitter frenzy Monday night, including retweets of posts claiming Fauci lied to the country regarding hydroxychloroquine, which the president revealed he has taken as a preventative measure to stop him from contracting coronavirus.
Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, pushed back Tuesday morning: ‘I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.’
The president’s Twitter storm included reposts of videos of a doctor who claimed the anti-Malaria drug is a ‘cure’ for COVID-19.
Several of the tweets he shared with his 84 million followers, however, were taken down by Twitter citing misinformation regulations.
The president’s insistence that the drug does work come as the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for controlling and regulating all prescription and over-the-counter medications, pharmaceuticals and vaccines, said hydroxychloroquine is ‘unlikely to be effective’ in treating the virus.
‘I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it’s very important,’ Fauci said Tuesday. ‘We’re in the middle of a crisis with regard to an epidemic – a pandemic. This is what I do, this is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life and I’ll continue to do it.’
Fauci has advised six presidents since joining the National Institute of Health in 1984.
In Trump’s Twitter spree he shared a post that claims Fauci is leading the country in the wrong direction by refusing to endorse hydroxychloroquine in combating the virus.
Trump has often promoted the drug, repeatedly pushing it as a therapeutic treatment, even though the FDA warns the drug has harmful side effects and in June revoked an emergency authorization for its use to treat coronavirus.
‘Dr. Fauci has misled the American public on many issues, but in particular, on dismissing #hydroxychloroquine and calling Remdesivir the new gold standard,’ the retweet said.
Fauci, once a fixture at the White House briefing room podium toward the start of the pandemic, has not yet been invited back for Trump’s rebooted task force briefings.
Trump and Fauci have often butted heads over how to respond to the health crisis and eventually, the president sidelined the nation’s top immunologist from the press conferences altogether.
Reports emerged of tensions between the two, and Fauci could be seen physically recoiling from some of the president’s remarks – including smirking and face-palming.
The president has come under heat for his handling of the coronavirus crisis and in recent weeks has tried rectify his reputation by holding solo coronavirus briefings, canceling some campaign events, and wearing a mask in public.
As of Tuesday morning the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is nearing 4.3 million and the death toll has surpassed 148,000.
At the same time, Trump, who’s poll numbers in handling the crisis are dismal, returned to preaching about the benefits of the drug, which he famously took for two weeks as a preventative measure earlier this summer.
In May the World Health Organization stopped its hydroxychloroquine trial. The National Institutes for Health similarly halted their trial in June after determining it provided ‘no benefit’ in the patients studied.
In his Monday Twitter spree Trump retweeted a video of Dr. Stella Immanuel claiming hydroxychloroquine works in battling the virus.
The video was published by the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News and showed Immanuel and others calling themselves ‘America’s Frontline Doctors’ staging a press conference in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Friday.
She slammed ‘fake doctors’ who doubt the efficacy of the drug, and claimed it’s a ‘cure’, adding ‘you don’t need a mask.’
‘If some fake science comes out and says we’ve done studies and they found out that it doesn’t work, I can tell you categorically it’s fake science,’ she said.
‘I want to know who’s conducted that study and who’s behind it. Because there is no way I have treat 350 patients and counting and nobody is dead,’ she said on how she allegedly treated patients with hydroxychloroquine along with zinc, and Zithromax.
However, her claims are contrary to the extensive tests that have been done regarding the drug.
Video of her fiery speech was shared on Twitter where it racked up over 14million views on Monday, partly due to the promotion by far-right news organizations, but Twitter later took it down.
Facebook and YouTube also began to pull down videos of her claims, claiming it’s spreading misinformation about the pandemic.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy took to Twitter to shed light on Trump’s controversial posts saying: ‘Videos Trump shared are now no longer available.’
‘While Twitter reviews the video, it’s worth noting that various versions of it have received hundreds of thousands of views on this platform and more than one has been retweeted to the public by the President of the United States,’ he added.
Twitter later took it down for its COVID-19 misinformation policy.
Similar videos of Immanuel’s speech were shared on Facebook on Monday.
It became one of the top performing posts on Facebook with more than 14 million views and nearly 600,000 shares before it was taken down Monday night for promoting misinformation, according to Crowdtangle, a data-analytics firm owned by Facebook.
A Facebook spokesperson said to CNN on removing the clip: ‘We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.’
The spokesperson added Facebook is ‘showing messages in News Feed to people who have reacted to, commented on or shared harmful COVID-19-related misinformation that we have removed, connecting them to myths debunked by the WHO.’