Hours after leaving the hospital, Trump posted a coronavirus lie so blatant Facebook removed it
Facebook has been incredibly reluctant to remove content posted by President Trump, to the point that when it actually does take the necessary step of intervening to prevent the spread of misinformation, it becomes newsworthy. You can probably already see where this is going. In a post on Facebook, Trump said that coronavirus is "far less lethal" than the flu. Facebook has removed the post because it is so wrong that not even the company that has happily enabled or ignored just about every other bit of false information posted by the president could sit by idly on it.
In the post in question, the president of the United States warns that flu season is coming up, and that "Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu." Trump goes on to say that he won't "close down our country" to stop the spread of the flu because "we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!"
Twitter has kept the post up, though it has placed it behind a warning that indicates the post violates the platform's rules and prevents the post from being retweeted without comment, replied to, favorited, and harder to share. This has become standard practice for Twitter, which finally started cracking down on misinformation shared by Trump earlier this year after the president lied about mail-in ballots, claiming they would lead to widespread voter fraud. The company has since utilized this method of moderation multiple times against Trump, and while it is a significantly less strict punishment than what any other user would face, at least it's something.
Facebook, on the other hand, had continued largely to drag its feet on taking action against anything Trump says. While Twitter slapped warning labels on tweets from Trump, including one in which he suggested he wanted the military to shoot and kill looters, Facebook has sat on its hands, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg's insistence that the company shouldn't act as "arbiters of truth." As the company held firm in this faux morality, Trump and his team have done everything in their power to abuse it by running ads that contain false information and actively promoting misinformation on a litany of issues.
Facebook eventually caved on its position this summer, when it removed a post from Trump's account in which he claimed children are "almost immune" from coronavirus.
Trump claims 100,000 people die from the flu each year. In reality, that would be a particularly deadly flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the range for death is between 24,000 and 62,000, and the country hasn't exceeded 100,000 deaths from the flu in at least a decade. Trump claims that coronavirus is "far less lethal" than the flu. It is not. The death rate for the flu is about 0.1 percent, while the best current estimate for coronavirus is about one percent, according to available research. Some suggest a higher mortality rate, some lower, but basically all research suggests it is more lethal than the flu.
One thing is for sure: the mortality rate won't be made any better by the leader of the free world, who has tested positive for coronavirus and has been pumped full of experimental treatments and steroids in order to address the symptoms, actively undermining the science. More than 200,000 Americans have already died from the disease. Keeping Trump from spreading more misinformation about it is really the least Facebook can do.