Twitter on Sunday removed a post retweeted by President Donald Trump that falsely claimed the COVID-19 pandemic is not as deadly as officials have reported.
The original tweet, posted by a user with the handle @littlemel, has been replaced by standard language stating, “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules. Learn more.”
The removal marks the latest example of Twitter taking action to limit the reach of false information circulated by the president on the social media platform.
The company also recently removed a post retweeted by Trump that had falsely claimed the existence of a “cure” for COVID-19. Twitter moderators have also previously taken other action against Trump tweets, including targeting a post in May that the company said was glorifying violence.
The latest action comes as followers of a radicalized group of conspiracists known as QAnon have gained momentum in recent months by posting falsehoods about COVID-19 and other hot-button topics. CNN described the user whose COVID-19 tweet was retweeted by Trump as “a supporter” of QAnon.
In the original tweet, the user also linked to a Facebook post about the alleged COVID-19 data conspiracy. Facebook had not removed that post as of Monday morning.
The false claim points to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that COVID-19 “was the only cause mentioned” in 6% of the deaths registered so far. For the other deaths, people averaged 2.6 conditions or causes.
The conspiracy theory alleges that this revelation means COVID-19 is not as deadly as previously claimed. This is not true. The CDC data indicates that other factors, such as obesity, contributed to deaths. But it does not mean the people would have died had they not contracted the disease.
Trump also retweeted a post by one of his attorneys, Jenna Ellis, with a link to a story on a far-right website that was based on the COVID-19 conspiracy post. That retweet has not been removed.
Originally published at USA today