Facebook temporarily freezes the page of the president of Venezuela for spreading misinformation about the corona virus
Facebook froze Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s page for violating its policy against spreading misinformation about COVID-19, the company confirmed on Saturday. As first reported by Reuters Maduro had promoted a ‘panacea’ that he claimed would cure the coronavirus, but those claims were not supported by the medical community.
Facebook also removed a video in which Maduro praised Carvativir, a homeopathic remedy extracted from thyme. Maduro has praised the solution in the past as ‘miracle drops’ and a ‘medical breakthrough’. Doctors in Venezuela have called Maduro’s claims that Carvatavir can treat the coronavirus ‘dangerous’.
This isn’t the first time Maduro has made false claims about coronavirus treatments on his social media platforms. Last March, Twitter deleted one of Maduro’s tweets which endorsed a “concoction” that he falsely claimed could eliminate “the infectious genes” of COVID-19. The removal came despite Twitter’s point of view against the deletion of tweets by world leaders unless the tweets explicitly violated the other rules.
Facebook has tried with varying degrees of success to stop the spread of coronavirus misinformation during the pandemic by enacting policies requiring the removal of posts that could lead to “imminent bodily harm.” It expanded the policy to demand the removal of false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, including conspiracy theories and false claims about the vaccines’ safety and side effects. It also applied labels to messages containing incorrect information about the coronavirus and directed users to accurate information from reliable medical sources.
A Facebook spokesperson said in an email The edge Saturday follows that the company is following guidance from the World Health Organization that says there is no cure for the corona virus. “Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days during which it will be read-only.”
Update March 27 10:15 AM ET: Adds comment from Facebook spokesperson