Authorities at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube allowed a very controversial video that was filled with misleading information on the novel coronavirus pandemic to go viral prior to puling it down form their social media platforms.
A right-wing media outlet Breitbart had created the video. It shows a press conference outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. being held by a group of people who are dressed in white lab coats and who call themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors”. The individuals in the video are seen to make claims that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is “a cure for Covid” and saying “you don’t need a mask” to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandmeic.
“This virus has a cure, it’s called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax,” one of the women in the video claims. “You don’t need masks, there is a cure.”
These claims in the video are completely opposite to hat has been advised by public health officials in the United States for preventing the spread of the pandemic.
The emergency use authorization of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine was brought to an end last month by the US Food and Drug Administration. The government body said that the drugs were “unlikely to be effective in treating Covid-19.”
And on the other hand, masks have been touted the world over to be a reliable safety measure that can help reduce the speed of spread of the disease.
According to NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny the video had racked up 20 million views on Facebook by late Monday night.
“We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for Covid-19,” a Facebook spokesperson informed the media.
Despite striving to prevent the spread of misinformation about Covid-19 on its platform since the emergence of the disease, Facebook has not managed to prevent several instances of disinformation from going viral prior to the company removing them from the platform.
Several versions of the video with his 84 million Twitter followers were shared by US President Donald Trump prior to them being taken down despite recommendations to people for wearing masks have been passed out by people in his own administration.
Tweets that contain the video essentially violate the platform’s Covid-19 misinformation policy and hence those tweets are being acted upon, said a Twitter spokesperson.
Since the video claimed a guaranteed cure of Covid-19, therefore it met the requirements for it to be barred from YouTube, said the popular video sharing platform. ″From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against Covid-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time,” a spokesperson for the platform said.
However despite the social media platforms claiming that the video had been taken don by them, one could still find clips of it circulating on WhatsApp s well as on other social media platforms as of Tuesday.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)