Twitter gives tech billionaire Elon Musk a pass after he falsely says kids are ‘essentially immune’ to Coronavirus
Chris White on March 20, 2020
Twitter gave Tesla CEO Elon Musk a pass after the Silicon Valley billionaire appeared to violate the company’s policies prohibiting the dissemination of misinformation around coronavirus.
Musk told his Twitter followers Thursday that children are “essentially immune” to coronavirus, or COVID-19. The company previously stated that such a claim was impermissible, yet it appeared to backtrack after Musk made his comment.
“Kids are essentially immune, but elderly with existing conditions are vulnerable. Family gatherings with close contact between kids & grandparents probably most risky,” he wrote in a tweet to his followers. Twitter said those tweets do not violate its policies.
“We reviewed the Tweets, and they don’t violate our rules at this time. Please continue to share anything you think we should take a closer look at — we’ll continue to rely on trusted partners, such as health authorities, to flag content that is harmful,” Twitter said in a statement to Axios.
A Twitter spokeswoman confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that Musk’s tweet does not violate company policy. The spokeswoman did not provide a reason explaining the reason for her anonymity.
The Centers for Disease and Cancer Prevention makes clear that children can not only contract the virus but can become major transmitters, especially to people who are older or have compromised immune systems.
Twitter revised some of its policies to “protect the public conversation around COVID-19,” according to a March 4 blog post from the company. The update also bans advertisements that “opportunistically use the COVID-19 outbreak to target inappropriate ads.”
The company, meanwhile, is refusing to remove a Chinese official’s tweets suggesting the U.S. Army is responsible for injecting coronavirus into Wuhan, China. A spokesman told the DCNF on March 13 that the official’s tweets do not violate company policies.
This is not the first time Musk has published questionable content regarding coronavirus. He told his Twitter followers March 6 that the “coronavirus panic is dumb,” noting two days later in a March 8 tweet that the “Virality of C19 is overstated due to conflating diagnosis date.”
He added: “Fatality rate also greatly overstated. Because there are so few test kits, those who die with respiratory symptoms are tested for C19, but those with minor symptoms are usually not. Prevalence of coronaviruses & other colds in general population is very high!”
Twitter is also dealing with a dustup after the company refused to remove a deceptively edited video that appears to show President Donald Trump calling the coronavirus a “hoax.”
Twitter declined Trump’s campaign’s request Thursday to remove the video after fact checkers called the content deceptive. Democratic operatives shared the video March 17, more than a week after Twitter began taking action against such content.
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