Twitter temporarily suspended Donald Trump Jr.'s account on Tuesday after he shared a video espousing false information about the coronavirus pandemic. Trump Jr.'s account features will be fully re-instated in 12 hours, according to a report by CBS News. Many users on the site rejoiced to see the rules enforced in this way, while others argued that it was not enough.
Trump Jr. re-posted a video that has now been banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for violating those sites' policies against spreading potentially harmful disinformation. It featured political conspiracy theories claiming that Dr. Anthony Fauci had "suppressed" the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 simply to spite President Donald Trump. The president retweeted the video as well, though his account has not been suspended.
The video centered around Dr. Stella Immanuel, who contradicted public health experts from around the world by claiming that wearing a face mask does not prevent the spread of COVID-19. She also claimed without evidence that there is a "cure for COVID" that is being withheld from the public.
Immanuel studied medicine in Nigeria and has been a practicing pedatrician in Louisiana and Texas for about three decades, according to a report by Heavy. She is also a minister, who often evokes "demonic forces" in her medical rhetoric, and has attributed to real health conditions like endometriosis, cysts, infertility and impotence to sexual encounters with "spirit husbands and spirit wives" in peoples' dreams.
In her video about COVID-19, Immanuel did not address the various studies from around the world showing the effectiveness of face masks, nor the ineffectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. Moreover, many critics wanted Immanuel, Trump Jr. and the president himself to consider the impact this conspiratorial mindset had on the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time of this writing, there are over 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. It has taken over 141,000 lives, and new case numbers are still on the rise in most parts of the country. Here is a look at how Twitter responded to Trump Jr.'s suspension on Tuesday.
Can we somehow make this a permanent thing?— Alan W. Silberberg (@IdeaGov) July 28, 2020
Same for the Dad as well.
Good! Do this more often when leaders lie @jack!— Derrick Ruthless (@derrickruthless) July 28, 2020
Donald Trump Jr getting suspended from Twitter for 12 hours is like Brock Turner getting sent to prison for 3 months.— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) July 28, 2020
I'm pretty sure most anybody else would have been outright banned, but what the heck, I'll take my schadenfreude where I can get it.— The Sarcastic Anarchist 🏴 (@AnarchoSarcasm) July 28, 2020
When Donald Trump Jr.'s account comes back online, let's give that human piece of trash the welcome he deserves!— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) July 28, 2020
This is not even the bare minimum that Twitter should have done considering the horrendous damage and death caused by such misinformation spread on its platform.— B. Berry (@BrianDavidBerry) July 28, 2020
The story should not be all about Twitter enforcing its rules in regards to Don Jr. It should be about social platforms allowing COVID misinfo to go insanely viral, and then the President and his son sharing that misinfo to their millions of followers.— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 28, 2020