Twitter took down two tweets from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, citing its policy against misinformation related to the Chinese coronavirus, despite refusing to take down misinformation from Chinese officials about the virus last week.
The deleted videos consist of videos of Bolsonaro discussing the Chinese virus with Brazilian citizens, emphasizing the need to balance concern about the pandemic with economic reality.
According to Yahoo:
In one of the deleted videos, Bolsonaro tells a street vendor, “What I have been hearing from people is that they want to work.”
“What I have said from the beginning is that ‘we are going to be careful, the over-65s stay at home,'” he said.
“We just can’t stand still, there is fear because if you don’t die of the disease, you starve,” the vendor is seen telling Bolsonaro, who responds: “You’re not going to die!”
In another video, the president calls for a “return to normality,” questioning quarantine measures imposed by governors and some mayors across the giant South American country as an effective containment measure against the virus.
“If it continues like this, with the amount of unemployment what we will have later is a very serious problem that will take years to be resolved,” he said of the isolation measures.
Responding to a request for comment, a Twitter spokeswoman cited the platform’s new rules against misinformation, which Breitbart News reported on earlier this month. According to the spokeswoman, the rules cover content that “could be against public health information provided by official sources and could put people at greater risk of transmitting COVID-19.”
However, as Breitbart News reported last week, Twitter has not clamped down on misinformation about the virus posted by Chinese officials, even after U.S. lawmakers have brought it to their attention.
Last week, a Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Beast that Chinese misinformation about the virus did not violate the platform’s rules.
Via the Daily Beast:
Coronavirus disinformation spread by senior Chinese government officials does not violate Twitter’s terms of service, a spokesperson for the company told The Daily Beast on Monday.
The spokesperson pointed to language on its website, which gives wide latitude to statements from government officials. “Presently,” the company says, “direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules.”
Twitter did not explain how Bolsonaro’s videos did not similarly fall under “direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day,” or why its new coronavirus-related rules superseded those protections in Bolsonaro’s case, but not in the case of the Chinese officials.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.