A controversial video containing misleading information about the coronavirus was allowed to record millions of views before being pulled from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
The video was created by the right-wing media outlet Breitbart. Represents a group of people dressed in white lab coats, calling themselves “United States Frontline Physicians,” organizing a press conference in front of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC. for Covid “and” does not need a mask “to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
“This virus has a cure, it’s called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax,” says one of the women in the video. “You don’t need masks, there is a cure.”
The claims contrast with advice from public health officials to prevent the spread of the virus.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had finalized the authorization for the emergency use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, saying the medications were unlikely to be effective in treating Covid-19.
Masks are also widely accepted as a reliable security measure that helps reduce the spread of the virus.
As of late Monday night, the video had amassed 20 million views on Facebook, according to NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for Covid-19.”
Facebook has been battling misinformation about the coronavirus on its platform since January, but there are now several cases of misinformation going viral before they are removed.
President Donald Trump shared multiple versions of the video with his 84 million Twitter followers before they were removed, even though his own administration has recommended that people wear masks.
A Twitter spokesperson said the tweets contained in the video violate its Covid-19 disinformation policy and that it is taking action.
YouTube said the video qualified for removal because it claimed a guaranteed Covid-19 cure. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have had clear policies against the disinformation of Covid-19 and we are committed to continuing to provide timely and useful information at this critical time, “said a spokesperson.
Although tech companies said they had removed the video, on Tuesday morning videos of him were still circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
America’s frontline doctors started a website on July 15. The group is made up of some doctors and some who are part of the movement against vaccination.
The group’s leader, Dr. Simone Gold, is reportedly a Trump supporter and has advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine on radio and conservative podcasts. Gold has also spoken out against the shelter-in-place measures and other measures designed to curb the spread of Covid-19 because “there was no scientific basis for the average American to be concerned” when it comes to the coronavirus.
“Americans are captivated and captured by fear right now,” she says in the video. “The virus doesn’t stop us as much as the spiderweb of fear. That spiderweb surrounds us and is constricting us, and it is draining the lives of the American people, American society, and Americans. Economy. This makes no sense.”
Breitbart did not immediately respond to CNBC when asked about the removal of the video by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
This is the latest coronavirus misinformation propagation incident on social media platforms like wildfire. Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates told CNBC that lies tend to spread faster than facts on social media.
“When you let people communicate, you have to deal with the fact that certain wrong things that are very exciting can spread very quickly compared to the truth. And we’ve always seen that with vaccines,” Gates said in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew. Ross Sorkin that aired on Tuesday in “Squawk Box”.
Platforms are also not removing racist, homophobic and hate speech content from their platforms as fast as some have demanded.
Twitter is currently facing a 48-hour “strike” over its handling of anti-Semitic tweets posted from the account of British rap star Wiley.
The San Francisco-based social media company removed several posts from Wiley’s account for violating Twitter’s “hate behavior policy,” but others have been left.
Some of those who were removed remained on the platform for almost 12 hours, resulting in a public reaction against the artist and Twitter.