Facebook removes Trump post comparing COVID-19 to flu
Facebook removed a post Tuesday from President Trump falsely claiming that the flu is more lethal than COVID-19.
“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” he wrote in the post. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”
CNN first reported the takedown.
More than 209,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 this year, more than in the past five flu seasons combined.
The annual flu death total has been between 12,000 and 61,000 since 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.
The last time that U.S. flu deaths hit an estimated 100,000 was in 1968.
“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said.
The same Trump message was posted on Twitter. The platform placed a label on the tweet warning that it violated rules about spreading coronavirus misinformation. The post is still viewable, but cannot be interacted with. The label was only appended three hours after Trump’s initial tweet. The Hill has reached out to the platform for comment.
Trump returned to the White House Monday night after spending the weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a positive coronavirus diagnosis.
The president’s medical team has kept information about his condition close to their chests but have revealed he experienced transient drops in his oxygen level on Friday and Saturday.
Trump is currently taking the antiviral medication remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone and an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron.
He is expected to receive a fifth and final dose of remdesivir at the White House on Tuesday. The doctors said that Trump will continue to receive dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation.
Tuesday’s post is illustrative of the problems posed by Trump to tech companies trying to limit misinformation on their platforms.
A report released by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University last week examined the nexus of false information about election fraud and found that Fox News and the Trump campaign were the most influential spreaders.
At the same time, comments by the president and his allies are often news and can be important for the public to be aware of. How platforms handle that balancing act will only get more relevant as Election Day draws closer.
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