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Donald Trump’s tweet ‘violated Twitter rules on misleading information’

Thank you:
The president
salutes crew
of Marine One
helicopter after
they flew him
back to the
White House
PICTURE: GETTY

DONALD TRUMP was last night accused of spreading ‘fake news’ as Twitter and Facebook censored his posts that coronavirus is ‘far less lethal’ than the flu.

A day after telling people not to worry about Covid-19, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans, the US president used the social media giants to downplay the seriousness of the virus.

Within hours, Facebook removed his comments and Twitter put up a warning, saying it ‘violated rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19’.

Mr Trump was discharged from hospital on Monday, four days after testing positive. He took off his mask as soon as he reached the White House.

Among a flurry of social media posts — including a declaration that he was ‘FEELING GREAT!’ — he wrote: ‘Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!’

Facebook removed the post, with its vice-president of global affairs and communications and former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg saying: ‘We remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19.’

Twitter allowed the post to remain but attached a warning, saying: ‘This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.’

The World Health Organization estimates there are up to 650,000 worldwide deaths each year associated with flu. The number of people dying with Covid-19 hit 1million on Tuesday last week. Mr Trump’s attempts to downplay the virus have been condemned by scientists and his rival in next month’s presidential election. Dr David Nace, of Pittsburgh University, said: ‘We have to be realistic in this — Covid is a threat to the American population. Most of the people aren’t so lucky as the president.’

What’s this macho thing?’ Election rival Joe Biden PICTURE: AP

Democrat Joe Biden said: ‘What is this macho thing, “I’m not going to wear a mask?” What’s the deal here? Big deal, does it hurt you? Be patriotic, for God’s sake — take care of yourself, but take care of your neighbours.’

Latest polls put Mr Trump on 41 per cent, with Mr Biden on 57 per cent.

The president indicated he intended to go ahead with next week’s second TV debate with his rival in Miami, tweeting: ‘It will be great!’

Deep cleaning: Press briefing room at the White House PICTURE: REUTERS

Mr Trump, 74, and his wife Melania, 50, revealed on Friday they had both tested positive for Covid-19 following a gathering of 200 people at the White House.

He appeared to be struggling with his breathing on Monday. But yesterday, his physician Sean Conley said the president had a ‘restful first night at home’ and ‘continued to do extremely well’.