Facebook removes video of Brazilian president endorsing unproven antiviral drug

Facebook said on Monday that it removed a video in which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro incorrectly said that a drug against the coronavirus is effective everywhere.

It’s rare for Facebook to remove a post from a head of state, but the coronavirus pandemic has caused tech companies to act aggressively to filter out unfounded medical advice, jokes, and other false information that they say is public health could endanger.

“We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that violates our community standards and does not allow misinformation that could result in physical harm,” the company said.

The drug in question, chloroquine phosphate, can have serious health consequences, including death, the disease control and prevention centers warned on Saturday.

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It and another drug, hydroxychloroquine sulfate, have been approved to treat conditions like malaria. Its potential effect on COVID-19, the disease associated with the virus, is unknown while researchers are studying it as treatments, the CDC said.

An Arizona man died this month after he and his wife ingested chloroquine phosphate because they thought it would protect them from infection. She said she saw television briefings at which President Donald Trump spoke about the potential benefits.

In the deleted recording, Bolsonaro spoke to a street vendor and said, “This medicine there, hydroxychloroquine, works in all places.” The BBC reported.

Twitter, which has adopted comprehensive new guidelines to reduce coronavirus misinformation, has removed two Bolsonaro tweets about coronavirus and a post by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. BuzzFeed News reports.

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