Donald Trump Jr. was suspended from Twitter for 12 hours on Tuesday after he shared a video about hydroxychloroquine that the social network branded “misleading and potentially harmful.”
“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,” read the Twitter notice sent to Trump Jr. on Monday. “We understand that during times of crisis and instability, it is difficult to know what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Under this policy, we require the removal of content that may pose a risk to people’s health, including content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.”
“As a result, we’ve temporarily limited some of your account features. While in this state, you can still browse Twitter, but you’re limited to only sending Direct Messages to your followers — no Tweets, Retweets, follows, or likes,” the social network declared, before claiming the suspension would be over in 12 hours.
The action came after Trump Jr. retweeted a video alleging the “suppression” of hydroxychloroquine by medical officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The video reportedly featured members of a group, America’s Frontline Doctors, claiming hydroxychloroquine could “cure” Covid-19.
In a statement to Mediaite, Trump Jr. spokesman Andy Surabian said:
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.”
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.
Twitter also released a statement “This account has not been permanently suspended,” The company said. “Per the screenshot, the Tweet requires deletion because it violates our rules (sharing misinformation on COVID-19), and the account will have limited functionality for 12 hours,” to which Surabian responded, “When the features ‘temporarily limited’ are the abilities to tweet and retweet, what would you call that? Anyone with a functioning brain would call it a suspension, despite the BS word games @Twitter is playing here.”
This account has not been permanently suspended. Per the screenshot, the Tweet requires deletion because it violates our rules (sharing misinformation on COVID-19), and the account will have limited functionality for 12 hours. More in our rules: https://t.co/0wHWVV5QS4 https://t.co/0gq7rlaNw7
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) July 28, 2020
When the features “temporarily limited” are the abilities to tweet and retweet, what would you call that?
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) July 28, 2020
The development comes after several months fraught with challenges for the company. Twitter began appending messages critical of President Donald Trump to the president’s tweets in May, leading him to sign an executive order ordering regulators to review the company’s liability protections. This month, hackers claiming they were assisted by Twitter employees gained control of the platform, using it to scam hundreds of users and steal information from dozens more. That breach also showed the company used a “blacklist” button to censor certain users and keywords on the site, something the company has denied doing in the past.
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