A viral video featuring false and unsubstantiated claims about coronavirus that was shared by President Donald Trump and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has been removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Originating from far-right news network Breitbart, the video includes claims that face masks and lockdowns are unnecessary for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
In the video, a group of individuals dressed in lab coats can be seen staging a press conference outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC., referring to themselves as ‘America’s Frontline Doctors’.
President Trump and his son Donald Jr. were amongst those retweeting clips from the misleading video, with the US president having tweeted multiple clips from the same piece of content.
As well as the unsubstantiated claims about face masks and lockdown measures, the video in question defends the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug President Trump has repeatedly shown support for.
Last month, the FDA revoked emergency use authorisation (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to be used as treatments for hospitalized coronavirus patients under certain circumstances, after it was discovered that ‘these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery’.
Earlier this month, the FDA warned of ‘reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues’ resulting from such treatments, including ‘blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure’.
The now-deleted clip shows Dr Stella Immanuel and other speakers falsely claim hydroxychloroquine to be a cure for coronavirus, with Dr Immanuel stating:
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.
NBC News journalist Brandy Zadrozny reported that ‘America’s Frontline Doctors’ was only created on July 15. Zadrozny also reported that some, although not all, members were physicians.
As reported by CNN Business, the video gained more than 14 million views on Facebook before it was removed on Monday, July 27 for promoting misinformation. It was also shared nearly 600,000 times.
After the vid was taken down, Facebook representative Andy Stone tweeted:
Yes, we removed it for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.
We’re 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.
Donald Trump Jr. has since been suspended from Twitter for being in violation of its Covid-19 misinformation rules. Although he may still browse Twitter and send direct messages, he will not be permitted to tweet for 11 hours.
A Twitter spokesperson told the BBC News:
We are taking action in line with our policy.