Twitter Punishes Donald Trump Jr. for Spreading Covid-19 Misinformation

The president's son posted a video with bogus health claims.

donald trump jr with a zipper across his mouth
Twitter took action against Donald Trump Jr. after he posted a video of false claims about Covid-19. Photo Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Source: Getty Images, Twitter
Headshot of Scott Nover

In the latest dust-up between Twitter and President Donald Trump’s family, the social media company limited Donald Trump Jr.’s account functionalities for 12 hours and forced him to delete a video that spread misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the 12-hour period, Trump Jr. could browse Twitter and send direct messages to his followers but could not tweet, retweet or like any posts, or follow any accounts, a Twitter spokesperson said.

Amid a spree of retweets touting the unfounded benefits of hydroxychloroquine, President Trump himself shared the same video Monday night, which was taken down by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. 

Twitter rolled out a comprehensive Covid-19 misinformation policy in April, which the video and Trump Jr. each violated.

The video in question reportedly showed a doctor named Stella Immanuel praising hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment and claiming that masks aren’t necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. According to The Daily Beast, Immanuel has become a “right-wing star” but has a long history of making absurd medical claims, including that gynecological problems are “caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.”

After The Daily Beast article Tuesday, the term “Demon Sperm” was trending alongside Immanuel’s name on Twitter.

Twitter refuted against claims that Trump Jr. had been permanently suspended from the platform, but a spokesperson pointed Adweek to the site’s rules, which state that “repeat violations of the Twitter Rules may lead to permanent suspension.”

@ScottNover Scott Nover is a platforms reporter at Adweek, covering social media companies and their influence.