President Donald Trump has been censored by Big Tech for commenting on COVID-19.
Facebook and Twitter obliterated a video of Trump speaking on Fox News about the coronavirus’s effects on children, both claiming the content violated their respective policies on COVID-19 misinformation. Conservative leaders have responded that this is yet another case of Big Tech’s accelerated use of their power to rig the election. Meanwhile, liberals contend that these crackdowns on the president’s speech are sorely needed.
Trump suggested in a Fox & Friends clip, as reported by Variety, that schools should reopen, because “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say, definitely — but almost immune from this disease.” He added that “they have much stronger immune systems than we do” and “are virtually immune from this problem.”
A clip of the segment was later posted to Trump's personal Facebook page and to @TeamTrump, the official Twitter account for the Trump campaign, which the president retweeted from his personal account @realDonaldTrump.
Then the two social media giants took action censoring the video, with a Twitter spokeswoman citing a “violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation,” while a Facebook spokesman specified, “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.”
Conservative commentators were incensed by Big Tech’s overreach in censoring the president’s commentary on a disease whose nature is hotly debated.
Media Research Center Founder and President Brent Bozell reacted to the newsTwitter’s actions by scorching the platforms and demanding both be held accountable:
“Facebook and Twitter need to stop this crap! They should both be investigated for election interference. To censor the President during an election year, no matter what he says, is leftist election manipulation. Orwell would be proud.”
Trump campaign deputy national press secretary Courtney Barella gave a scathing critique of Big Tech leadership, according to The Hill:
"The Twitter employee who explained why our account was suspended is also [Sen.] Kamala Harris’s [D-Calif.] former press secretary. Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction[.]"
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) raked Big Tech over the coals, and as a sitting congressman demanded that his fellow conservatives in government repeal the Section 230 protections that Big Tech companies depend on:
“Now Facebook and Twitter are colluding to censor the President of the United States?
“This is absolutely outrageous and exactly why we need to repeal Section 230.
“Big Tech has become too powerful, and it’s time they are held accountable.”
Fox Business Varney & Co. host Stuart Varney tweeted a clip from his show where he commented, “You are essentially censoring the president of the United States. You're telling voters, 'you're not allowed to see this message!'" The tweet also included the following hashtags: “#Trump #Twitter #Facebook #FirstAmendment #VarneyCo.”
Liberal commentators, on the other hand, say that this Big Tech crackdown on the president’s tweets has been a long time coming.
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy commented in a CNN column:
“What is noteworthy is that the action means that — on this issue — the two tech giants have enforced higher standards on their platforms than the Murdoch family has enforced on Fox News.”
Darcy commented further that this was some sort of indictment of Fox News as an institution in that “It's likely that Trump picked up the piece of misinformation about children being ‘almost immune’ to the coronavirus from Fox News, and then simply repeated it back to the network's morning hosts.”
Recode co-founder and New York Times contributor Kara Swisher shared the Washington Post’s coverage and commented, “Finally taking responsibility for their platforms: Facebook, Twitter penalize Trump for posts containing coronavirus misinformation.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Twitter's leadership by tweeting at the official @Twitter account and Contact Facebook headquarters at 1-650-308-7300 or 1-650-543-4800 and demand that they mirror the First Amendment. You can also contact the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 and submit a comment on the petition filed by the Department of Commerce regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.