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Facebook deletes Donald Trump's post for spreading misinformation about coronavirus

A Facebook post from Donald Trump has been deleted by the platform after it said the US president had violated its policy against misinformation about the coronavirus.

Trump had posted a link to a Fox News video in which he had claimed children were “virtually immune” to COVID-19, prompting Facebook to act.

In a statement on Wednesday, the social network said the 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.”

READ MORE | Trump claims COVID-19 ‘receding’ a day after adviser says pandemic ‘extraordinarily widespread’

Twitter followed suit a few hours later by blocking the Trump campaign from posting anything until it also removed a tweet linking to the same video.

It said the tweet, which was retweeted by Trump’s account, had violated COVID-19 misinformation rules.

When a tweet breaks its rules, Twitter asks users to remove the tweet and bans them from posting anything else until they do.

Twitter has generally been quicker than Facebook in recent months to label posts from the president that violate its policies against misinformation and abuse.

READ MORE | ‘End of story’: Republicans say US election will not be delayed after Trump tweet

This is not the first time that Facebook has removed a post from Trump, the platform said, but it’s the first time it has done so because it was spreading misinformation about the new coronavirus. The company has also labelled his posts.

Several studies suggest, but don’t prove, that children are less likely to become infected than adults and more likely to have only mild symptoms. But this is not the same as being “virtually immune” to the virus.

A US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) study involving 2,500 children published in April found that about 1 in 5 infected children were hospitalised versus 1 in 3 adults; three children died.

The study lacks complete data on all the cases, but it also suggests that many infected children have no symptoms, which could allow them to spread the virus to others.

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