Twitter put a 12-hour restriction on Donald Trump Jr.’s account, saying the president’s son put out a tweet that contained “misleading and potentially harmful” information about the coronavirus.
The news emerged after a person close to Trump Jr. — Republican political strategist Andrew Surabian — posted a screenshot showing what appeared to be a message to Trump Jr. alerting him of a temporary limit on his account based on the company’s policy on spreading misinformation on COVID-19.
Twitter confirmed the restriction in a subsequent tweet, emphasizing the action was a temporary limit on some of his account’s features and not a permanent suspension.
The company did not specify the exact contents of the tweet. But multiple media accounts said it included a video of a press conference, disseminated by Breitbart News of a group calling itself America’s Frontline Doctors.
The video questions the efficacy of mask usage despite widespread and clear evidence to the contrary. It also promotes giving the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients. Trump has touted this idea despite a lack of scientific evidence. The National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have said the drug is not likely to be effective.
President Trump also reportedly shared the video and retweeted others promoting the use of the drug. Two tweets on the president’s timeline have been deleted, though the company did not immediately confirm to NPR whether they contained clips of the video.
Facebook and YouTube also took down the video published by Breitbart, according to multiple reports.
Social media companies have struggled to combat false and misleading information about the pandemic posted on their platforms. Twitter, Facebook and Google all introduced policies to better identify and remove false and dubious information about the coronavirus pandemic.
Editor’s note: Google and Facebook are among NPR’s financial supporters.