Despite Facebook’s well-documented history of media bias, the tech-juggernaut intervened in stopping the spread of the world’s second most discussed virus of 2020: fake news.
A viral story by Politico falsely claiming that President Donald Trump called the coronavirus a hoax was shot down and flagged as a false claim after the fact-checking site Check Your Fact labelled the story as false.
The headline, “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax,’ misquoted the president, with the article saying that Trump “tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term.”
The story was labelled “factually inaccurate,” by Check Your Fact.
Trump referred to the alleged “politicizing” of the coronavirus by Democrats as “their new hoax.” He did not refer to the coronavirus itself as a hoax. Throughout the speech, Trump reiterates that his administration is taking the threat of the coronavirus seriously.
Donald Trump Jr. commended Facebook and Check Your Fact’s quick action on the matter.
“It’s a start. I’m not getting my hopes up but maybe they listened to @GOPLeader, @HawleyMO, and my talk @cpac yesterday,” Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter. “Of course the rest of the media is still running with a lie but no one expects that to ever change.”
President Trump also addressed this issue on Saturday while addressing the concerns around what action his government was taking to fight the virus: Trump was asked whether or not he regretted using the word hoax, to which he responded, “No. No. No.”
“Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them not… I’m not talking about what’s happening here.”
“How could anybody refer to this [as a hoax?] This is serious stuff. By the way, they refer to it because these people have done such an incredible job, and I don’t like it when they are criticizing these people and that’s the hoax. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Numerous outlets ran with this false story, including MSNBC.
The Trump government has since imposed strict travel restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus.