Social Media giants including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have removed a viral video with unverified claims related to the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
In the video, a doctor, Stella Immanuel, claimed that hydroxychloroquine is cure for COVID-19.
Immanuel, a Cameroonian who claimed to have attended Medical School in Nigeria, said “you don’t need masks” to prevent spread of the COVID-19 as advised by several health experts.
She accused “fake pharma companies” of sponsoring recent studies showing hydroxychloroquine is ineffective for the treatment of COVID-19, describing them as “fake science”.
“This virus has a cure, it’s called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax,” she claimed. “You don’t need masks, there is a cure.”
Immanuel claimed that she treated over 350 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.
The claims run contrary to multiple studies on the anti-malarial drug and advice from public health officials to prevent spread of the virus.
The video, which featured a group of doctors wearing white lab coats calling themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors”, was shared by United States President Donald Trump on Twitter Monday night.
It quickly went viral on Facebook, becoming one of the top performing posts on the platform with more than 14 million views before it was taken down Monday night for promoting misinformation.
“We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN, adding that the platform is “showing messages in News Feed to people who have reacted to, commented on or shared harmful COVID-19-related misinformation that we have removed, connecting them to myths debunked by the WHO.”
Twitter also worked to scrub the video late Monday night after Trump shared versions of the video that amassed hundreds of thousands of views.
“We’re taking action in line with our Covid misinfo policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNN.
The video was also removed by YouTube, where it had been viewed more than 40,000 times. Users attempting to access the video late Monday were greeted with a message that said it had been removed for “violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.”
Trump’s campaign has been accused of sponsoring the doctors. The American president had dismissed the importance of wearing masks for months but recently, he has been touting the importance of wearing them. He had also supported the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 in the past, claiming he had used some doses