By Jeff Horwitz
Facebook Inc. said it took down a post by President Trump on Tuesday because it contained misinformation about the dangers of the coronavirus.
The social-media giant said its decision is based on its policy against users spreading information that is deemed both wrong and harmful. Facebook said it makes determinations based on guidance from public-health authorities including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
"We remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19, and have now removed this post," said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone.
With its decision, the social network has moved to censor the president just weeks before Election Day. While Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said the company doesn't wish to police political speech, Facebook has previously removed posts containing what it defines as coronavirus-related falsehoods. In March, Facebook removed content from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promoting the drug hydroxychloroquine as effective at treating the virus in all cases. U.S. regulators later warned against such use of the antimalarial, which was widely touted by Mr. Trump, citing a lack of evidence for its effectiveness.
Mr. Trump's statement Tuesday that the seasonal flu is more dangerous for most than the coronavirus is widely considered false by medical professionals. Not only has the disease already killed more than 210,000 Americans, but the death rate per person infected has been far higher than historical rates for the seasonal flu, according to infectious disease experts.
Twitter Inc. also took action on Tuesday in response to the president's claim on its own platform. Instead of removing the post, the company appended a notice that his tweet violated its rules on spreading harmful information related to the virus but that "it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."
Write to Jeff Horwitz at Jeff.Horwitz@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires