Technology

Facebook removes Bolsonaro video linking coronavirus vaccines to AIDS

Facebook has removed a video from its platform that featured Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro linking COVID-19 vaccines to the onset of AIDS.

Bolsonaro on Thursday night posted a video in which he said reports from the United Kingdom (U.K.) floated the possibility that "vaccinated people are developing the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome," according to The Washington Post.

U.K. health officials, however, rejected that claim, telling G1, a Brazilian news outlet, that the president's statements were false, the Post reported. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS has also said that coronavirus vaccines authorized by health regulators are safe for individuals who have HIV, according to Reuters.

Facebook issued a statement on Monday announcing that Bolsonaro's comments did not comply with the company's policy banning claims that COVID-19 vaccines are fatal or seriously harmful.

"Our policies don't allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people," the company said in a statement to The Hill. 

Bolsonaro has remained a coronavirus skeptic even as COVID-19 has ravaged Brazil. He opposed the vaccine and earlier this month said he was "bored" with questions about the country's increasing COVID-19 death toll.

He has also been repeatedly accused of spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19, with some Brazilian doctors arguing that he is downplaying the severity of the pandemic.

Bolsonaro could also face 11 criminal charges after Brazil's Senate conducted a probe of his response to the pandemic.

Renan Calheiros, the senator who oversaw the investigation, said during a radio interview earlier this month that the probe will recommend charges such as genocide against Brazil's Indigenous population, malfeasance, irregular use of public funds, violation of sanitary measures, incitement to crime and forgery of private documents, according to Reuters.

Bolsonaro posted a video to his YouTube channel in July in which he advised taking hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to Reuters, but the video was ultimately taken down by Alphabet.

The Hill reached out to Facebook for additional information.

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