Twitter appended a label to a tweet from President Trump for “making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”
Trump claimed in posts on Twitter and Facebook early Sunday morning that mail drop boxes for voting “are not Covid sanitized” as well as claiming they are a “voter security disaster."
Five hours after Trump sent the tweet, Twitter took action, saying, “We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”
Now accompanying the Tweet is the full security notice: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Trump’s tweet puzzled at least one scientist who noted that people are unlikely to catch the virus from touching such a box. People can just wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after touching any objects, including mail drop boxes, noted Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and a CNN contributor.
“You can completely minimize the risk of infection by sanitizing your hands after you drop in your ballot,” Bromage told CNN.
What the science says: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the main way Covid-19 spreads is from person to person and that while there is a possibility of infection from someone touching a surface and then their mouth, nose or potentially their eyes, this is not the main way the virus spreads.
The larger risk of transmission comes when people are crowded into indoor spaces together.
“So while there is a theoretical possibility for viral transfer from a voting drop box, in reality the chances of this occurring and it leads to an infection are low,” Bromage said.
Although the exact same message was posted to the President’s Facebook account, the company has not taken specific action on the post by Sunday afternoon.
Facebook says it affixes links to voter information to posts from politicians about the election — a policy which could cause more confusion, as CNN has previously reported. Unlike Twitter, Facebook does not fact-check politicians.
CNN has reached out to Facebook for comment.
Read the tweet: