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A Breitbart video touting misinformation about the coronavirus has quickly spread across social-media platforms, where clips were retweeted by President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr.
The video, which got more than 14 million views on Facebook alone, according to CNN, which cited CrowdTangle data, has since been taken down from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter — including removing tweets that the president shared.
“Tweets with the video are in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” a Twitter representative told Business Insider. “We are taking action in line with our policy.”
In a tweet, the Facebook representative Andy Stone said: “Yes, we removed it for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.”
“We’re showing messages in News Feed to people who have reacted to, commented on or shared harmful COVID-19-related misinformation that we have removed, connecting them to myths debunked by the WHO,” Stone said.
A YouTube spokesperson told Business Insider: “We have removed the video for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policies.”
NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny said the group behind the content of the video, America’s Frontline Doctors, was created only on July 15. Zadrozny also said in a tweet that some but not all members of the group were physicians.
The group held a press conference touting false and unconfirmed information about the novel coronavirus, including saying masks were unnecessary despite the scientific consensus saying otherwise.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 147,000 people in the US and infected more than 4 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The right-wing site Breitbart covered the press conference in the video, which was viewed widely before being taken down.
Neither America’s Frontline Doctors nor Breitbart could immediately be reached for comment.
This isn’t the first instance of a misinformation video becoming popular on social-media sites. In May, a 26-minute video called “Plandemic,” which also touted widely debunked claims about the virus, got millions of views.
Earlier this year, social-media sites including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter agreed to work together and alongside government health agencies to make sure people get accurate information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.
“We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world,” a joint statement published to Facebook’s website said. “We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
They’ve come under criticism, however, for allowing videos like the recent one from Breitbart to circulate.