Twitter has temporarily locked Donald Trump Jr.’s account. The company said he violated its policy on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,” but argued that this was not a suspension.
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
Republican strategist Andrew Surabian shared a screenshot of a message Trump received from Twitter (via Vice). It states that until he removed the tweet in question, Trump couldn’t tweet, retweet, follow anyone or like any tweets. He could still use Direct Messages. The company said that the action would apply to his account for 12 hours, or until he removed the tweet the company says violated his policies.
Trump also had the option of appealing the lockout, but it appears the tweet has been deleted. It linked to a video that included false information about COVID-19. It shows several people wearing white lab coats who claim to be "America's Frontline Doctors” as they hold a press conference in front of the Supreme Court.
"This virus has a cure, it's called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax," said Dr. Stella Immanuel in the video. "You don't need masks, there is a cure." Multiple studies have debunked those claims, which also run contrary to advice from public health officials. Dr. Immanuel has a long history of promoting dangerous medical claims. She has, for instance, suggested alien DNA is used in some treatments and that microchips are being implanted in people via vaccines.
On Monday, Breitbart published the video on Facebook, where it had more than 14 million views and hundreds of thousands of shares. Facebook later removed the video, which it says shared “false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.” Versions of the video popped up on YouTube and Twitter, both of which deleted it too in line with their COVID-19 misinformation policies. Dr. Immanuel suggested that if Facebook didn’t restore the video of her Supreme Court speech, Jesus Christ would crash the company’s servers.
Trump’s father, President Donald Trump, also shared the video on Twitter on Monday. Those tweets have since been removed, but Twitter did not otherwise suspend or lock the president’s account.