The social network Facebook withdrew a video from the account of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, on Wednesday, in which he appeared in an interview with Fox News, considering that the content related to COVID-19 was “false information”.
In the interview segment shared by Trump on the web, the president maintained that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19, which Facebook considered “false claims” and proceeded to remove it in accordance with its policies regarding the pandemic.
Trump was making a claim to justify his pressure to open schools at the start of the school year in the United States in the coming weeks and have students attend in person, something that is being encouraged from the White House to speed up economic recovery.
Facebook’s decision to remove the president’s message is especially important in a context where the world’s most used social network has been the target of harsh criticism from politicians and activists, as well as from the company’s own employees, precisely because of its permissiveness with the Trump account.
The firm’s management, and in particular its CEO and co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, defend themselves by defending the freedom of expression, the notoriety of the president and their desire not to become arbiters of truth on the Internet.
However, Twitter, one of his main competitors and the network most used by Trump, has begun in recent months to hide and eliminate comments from the president on a regular basis, which has unleashed the wrath of conservatives, who accuse him of censorship, and has earned him the applause of progressive sectors.
A coalition of minority rights organisations last month called for a boycott of Facebook (which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger), with the explicit or implicit support of major companies like Coca-Cola, Verizon, Adidas, Ford and the British-Dutch consumer products group Unilever (one of the world’s largest advertisers).
However, the boycott had a very limited impact on the firm’s accounts, given that the vast majority of advertising revenue received by Facebook comes from thousands of small and digital businesses, which barely followed the initiative.