Facebook Censors COVID-19 Doctors’ Summit

CLAIMS VIDEO “SHARED FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT CURES AND TREATMENTS FOR COVID-19”

by Sharon Rondeau

Twitter as of 9:26 a.m. EDT

(Jul. 28, 2020) — A number of reports Tuesday morning say that Facebook “censored” a video live-streamed on Monday of “America’s Frontline Doctors” in which at least a dozen U.S. physicians criticized the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and advocated the reopening of schools and the full economy as soon as possible.

As The Post & Email reported Monday, Tea Party Patriots broadcasted the event live from Capitol Hill on its Facebook page, with Tea Party Patriots Foundation founder Jenny Beth Martin opening the address.

Upon clicking the link in our story Tuesday morning which had led to the TPP Facebook livestream, we received the following error message:

After reaching TPP’s Facebook page through a search within the social-media platform, we noted that a nearly-three-hour video of the event is available on its page, with a slightly longer video embedded below that.

We contacted Tea Party Patriots at the toll-free number provided on its Facebook page and left a voicemail inquiring as to whether or not it moved the location of the video on its Facebook page or if the video was removed by another means.  As of press time, we are waiting to hear back.

Later on Monday, Breitbart News reported:

Facebook has removed a video posted by Breitbart News earlier today, which was the top-performing Facebook post in the world Monday afternoon, of a press conference in D.C. held by the group America’s Frontline Doctors and organized and sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots. The press conference featured Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and frontline doctors sharing their views and opinions on coronavirus and the medical response to the pandemic. YouTube (which is owned by Google) and Twitter subsequently removed footage of the press conference as well.

Breitbart reportedly obtained a statement from a Facebook representative stating, “We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.”  “The company did not specify what portion of the video it ruled to be “false information,” who it consulted to make that ruling, and on what basis it was made,” the Breitbart report continued.

Facebook’s admission was also made on Twitter as reported by Breitbart. “Yes, we removed it for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19,” Facebook’s Andy Stone tweeted.

While The Post & Email was unable to locate the tweet in Stone’s timeline Tuesday morning, Stone tweeted Monday:

We are excited to launch the Election Integrity Partnership: a coalition between @stanfordio, @Graphika_NYC, @DFRLab, and @uwcip to discover, analyze, and mitigate election disinformation in the 2020 election. eipartnership.net/news/announcin

Also on Monday, Breitbart’s Twitter account was “limited” because “tweets containing links to multiple stories about the press conference violate the platform’s COVID-19 policies.”

Breitbart reported the video’s removal as “censorship” not only on Facebook’s part, but also that of Google; its subsidiary, YouTube, and Twitter.

One physician in the video who said she received her training in West Africa said she has successfully treated 350 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine and that withholding the treatment for the very ill is “unethical.”

In March the FDA issued emergency authorization for the use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine for hospitalized patients in clinical trials given early indications that it was an effective treatment for the disease. A number of physicians have reported administering it prophylactically and/or taking it themselves, perhaps in combination with zinc and azithromycin, an antibiotic.

Hydroxychloroquine has been used in the United States for approximately 70 years to treat malaria and lupus. In mid-June, the FDA withdrew its emergency authorization with a statement that it had not proven effective in treating COVID-19.  In late May, the World Health Organization (WHO), from which the Trump administration has announced a withdrawal effective next year, “paused” a clinical trial of the drug for COVID-19.

President Trump had promoted hydroxychloroquine, in combination with the other two treatments, and in May reported he was taking a course of it after consulting with the White House physician.  The media then appeared to double-down on its efforts to discredit the drug as a treatment method. However, a study by the Henry Ford Health System released earlier this month showed that hydroxychloroquine treatment lowered the death rate from the disease, and a study discouraging hydroxychloroquine as a treatment published in a leading medical journal, The Lancet, was retracted in early June when the publication’s editors were forced to admit the underlying data was unverified.

On Twitter as of press time, the leading category of discussion is “Hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for COVID-19, according to the FDA.”

The U.S. goverment has chosen to embrace Remdesivir as a favored medicinal treatment for coronavirus.

The CEOs of Facebook, will appear on Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee to discuss “market power” and “competition” issues.  In the recent past, Attorney General William Barr has said that social-media companies have violated the trust Congress gave them in 1990s legislation as entities which do not censor content or bear liability posted on their pages.

The America’s Frontline Doctors’ summit continues through early afternoon Tuesday.

 

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