Facebook and Twitter Removed Trump Interview Clip for COVID-19 Misinformation

Trump’s latest lie on COVID-19 finally prompted intervention from Facebook. Can we expect to see more self-monitoring for misinformation and hate speech from Zuckerberg?

What Happened:

In a rare demonstration of integrity, Facebook joined Twitter in removing a video shared by President Trump for violating their COVID-19 misinformation policies. During a Fox News interview, Trump falsely stated that children are ‘almost immune’ to COVID-19. 

This is the first time Facebook has taken such action, while Twitter just recently removed a post by Dr. Stella Immanuel for spreading misinformation about the efficacy of the controversial anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine. 

Why it Matters:

Public Health:

Not only are children able to contract COVID-19, they can infect family members and become seriously ill themselves. Though there is reason to believe some countries are masking their true COVID-19 infection rates, the United States has had the most cases worldwide for several months now.

Having a clear and uniform message on public health strategies, such as social distancing and wearing masks, is critical to reducing the virus’s spread. Debunking digital misinformation that runs contrary to these initiatives is also what you’d expect from a sitting President. Instead, the Trump administration chooses to tout blatant lies over real guidance, which will undoubtedly lead to more loss of life and livelihoods.  

Facebook Advertising Boycott:

Social media is a key component of any corporation’s marketing strategy in the digital era. Yet, the Stop Hate for Profit boycott, led by the NAACP, Color of Change, and other civil rights groups and activists, has convinced more than 1,100 businesses to pull their ad money from Facebook due to its negligence in monitoring hate and discrimination on its platform. 

This coalition began with mostly nonprofit and progressive companies like Patagonia, but now  includes major firms in their ranks, including Unilever and Verizon. Facebook receives around $70 billion in corporate ad revenue every year, so the boycott is targeting the only thing that might make Mark Zuckerberg waiver on Facebook’s policies: money.