President Donald Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., on Monday retweeted a viral video that was yanked by Facebook for pushing “false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.”
YouTube and Twitter also pulled the video.
The clip, which was originally posted by the right-wing news site Breitbart, featured four people who identified themselves as doctors speaking in front of the Supreme Court building. One was Stella Immanuel, who claims to be a physician in Houston, and said hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug often touted by Trump, was a cure for COVID-19.
A number of scientific studies have determined that the drug was not only ineffective against the novel coronavirus but that it could cause fatal heart arrhythmia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at this time, there is no drug or therapy presently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Immanuel also said that people do not need to wear face masks and attacked “fake doctors” who “sound like a computer.” To avoid contracting coronavirus, the CDC advises wearing a face mask, limiting face-to-face contact with others and wearing gloves when cleaning and disinfecting or providing care for the sick.
Immanuel has an unusual background for a self-proclaimed COVID-19 expert. Information about her medical background is limited; however, she does serve as the head of Fire Power Ministries, which appears to be located in a Houston strip mall and promotes a baptism of fire program that offers “miracles, healings and deliverance.”
On Monday night, Immanuel threatened Facebook with God’s wrath.
“If my page is not back up face book will be down in Jesus name,” she tweeted.
In addition, Trump retweeted a post that quotes a Dr. Lee Vliet who claims infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci “misled the American public.”
The original tweet was posted by “War Room: Pandemic,” a radio show and podcast hosted by Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
Trump retweeted more than a dozen posts on Monday evening that plugged hydroxychloroquine, Mediaite reported. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, also posted inaccurate information about the coronavirus:
The Breitbart video was viewed at least 14 million times by Monday afternoon, per New York Times reporter Kevin Roose. Facebook appeared to be the first social media site to pull the clip from its site. Trump and his son’s retweets featuring the video were later yanked by Twitter.
A Facebook representative told CNN that the company was also trying to counteract damaging information in the video.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
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