Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said in March that promoting bleach as a cure for the coronavirus was “misinformation that has imminent risk of danger” and that such messages would immediately be removed from the social network. President Trump has now put Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments to the test. From a report: At a White House briefing last week, Mr. Trump suggested that disinfectants and ultraviolet light were possible treatments for the virus. His remarks immediately found their way onto Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites, and people rushed to defend the president’s statements as well as mock them. But Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have declined to remove Mr. Trump’s statements posted online in video clips and transcriptions of the briefing, saying he did not specifically direct people to pursue the unproven treatments. That has led to a mushrooming of other posts, videos and comments about false virus cures with UV lights and disinfectants that the companies have largely left up.
A New York Times analysis found 780 Facebook groups, 290 Facebook pages, nine Instagram accounts and thousands of tweets pushing UV light therapies that were posted after Mr. Trump’s comments and that remained on the sites as of Thursday. More than 5,000 other posts, videos and comments promoting disinfectants as a virus cure were also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube this week. Only a few of the posts have been taken down. The social media companies have always trod delicately when it comes to President Trump. Yet their inaction on posts echoing his remarks on UV lights and disinfectants stands out because the companies have said for weeks that they would not permit false information about the coronavirus to proliferate.
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