Don Jr. Temporarily Muzzled On Twitter For Peddling Bogus Trump-Friendly COVID-19 Claims

during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election.
President Donald Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr. (Photo by Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)

Twitter has slapped temporary restrictions on Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Donald Trump, for posting a video published by far-right media outlet Breitbart News that peddled false information about COVID-19.

Trump’s spokesperson, Andrew Surabian, flagged Twitter’s notification to the President’s eldest son informing him that he had violated its policy on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

Trump will be restricted from tweeting, retweeting, following new accounts and liking posts for 12 hours.

“Big Tech is the biggest threat to free expression in America today and they’re continuing to engage in open election interference – full stop,” Surabian tweeted.

The move is part of Twitter’s crackdown on the Breitbart video, which pushes bogus claims from self-identified “doctors” asserting that people “don’t need masks” because hydroxychloroquine, the President’s purported miracle drug, will “cure” COVID-19. The President himself retweeted the video on Monday night before Twitter deleted it.

Health experts have emphasized the importance of wearing masks to curb transmission of the coronavirus, and numerous studies have found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is an effective remedy, shattering two of the President’s attempts to play down the pandemic by refusing to wear facial coverings in public and touting hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the virus. Trump has only recently come around to wearing masks.

“Tweets with the video are in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told TPM in an emailed statement. As part of the policy, Twitter pledges to “prioritize removing content when it has a clear call to action that could directly pose a risk to people’s health or well-being.”

Facebook and YouTube also took down the video on their platforms.

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