Should Twitter have censored Trump’s claim that children are “almost immune” to COVID?


Fact Box

  • Twitter originally claimed itself to be the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”  
  • Twitter has been more aggressive in the fight against disinformation on its platform recently, placing warning labels on President Trump about mail-in ballots and another during a protest where he said 'looting' would lead to 'shooting.'
  • Twitter temporarily blocked Trump’s account from tweeting until it removed a video clip from a Fox News interview from Wednesday morning, in which the president urged schools to reopen, claiming that children are 'almost immune from this disease.'
  • As of August 5, there have been 45 child deaths involving COVID-19 reported in the U.S.
  • According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 339,000 children in the United States had the coronavirus through July 30, making up 8.8% of all cases.

Tyler (Yes)

By saying that these children are “immune,” Trump ignores the fact that children can spread the virus just as easily as anybody else. In fact, JAMA Pediatrics proves that children under five can contain 10 to 100 times more COVID in their system than the average infected adult. A study surveying 59,000 coronavirus patients in South Korea determined that children between the ages of 10 and 20 spread the virus twice as frequently as adults. While children may not suffer from the typical symptoms of COVID at the same rates that adults do, the risk of children spreading the virus to adult family members is sizeable. 

The Georgia Department of Health reports that 267 children have been hospitalized since the outbreak, with two children passing away. When claiming that children are almost “immune,” Trump disrespects families that have children succumbing to the dangers of the virus. 

While children may have a higher survival rate, multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) can pose a significant problem later on, as it can present itself months after a child deals with coronavirus. At times, parents were unaware a child had previously even had the coronavirus until MIS-C symptoms flared up weeks later. 

Consistently downplaying the dangers of the virus can cause children to become comfortable with breaking safety protocols. Alabama state officials had to issue a warning to students hosting parties with the sole purpose of infecting each other. 

By removing the post, Twitter is preventing false narratives from being spread throughout their platform. 

Elizabeth (No)

Twitter and Facebook were grandstanding this week when they censored Trump's claims regarding children's resistance to COVID-19. It's no mystery that the mainstream media despises Trump. So a pile-on by these social media companies--which are owned by left-leaners--to show solidarity with the 'Orange Man Bad' consensus is no surprise. 

Regardless of what one thinks of Trump personally, it IS true that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus. They aren't immune, but Trump didn't (quite) claim they are. The subsequent censoring leads to nothing productive and only further drives people, both supporters and detractors, to their respective ideological corners. 

Trump-haters claim that censoring him prevents harmful misinformation from 'yet again' being spread around. While on the other side, the Trump-lovers see it as yet another instance of 'the Left' propping up the broken system of influential, conservative-hating teachers' unions using children's education as a weapon to get what they want. 

Regardless, however, it seems clear that both Facebook and Twitter are yet again hiding behind their Section 230 shields of simultaneously being 'not a news source' and 'managing content.' Obviously excluding anything advocating violence to a person or group, they could easily add a disclaimer to posts they disagree with. This would be the better choice than the heavy-handed, lopsided censorship they seem to have relied on for years

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