Twitter has restricted Donald Trump Jr.’s account on the social media platform after determining the president’s eldest son violated its policies against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.
Republican political strategist Andrew Surabian, Trump’s spokesman, first shared the news of the partial suspension in a tweet Tuesday morning that mentioned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
“BREAKING: @Twitter & @jack have suspended @DonaldJTrumpJr for posting a viral video of medical doctors talking about Hydroxychloroquine,” he wrote.
Surabian also posted a screenshot of what appeared to be a notice Trump received from Twitter informing him that the company had “temporarily limited some of your account features.”
“We have determined that this account violated the Twitter Rules,” the notice stated, specifically alleging Trump had violated Twitter’s “policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.”
In a longer statement provided to POLITICO, Surabian said that “Twitter suspending Don Jr. for sharing a viral video of medical professionals discussing their views on Hydroxychloroquine is further proof that Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online.”
Surabian argued the action by Twitter represented “another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices.”
Responding to Surabian’s message, Twitter’s communications team clarified in a tweet that Trump’s account “has not been permanently suspended.”
“Per the screenshot, the Tweet requires deletion because it violates our rules (sharing misinformation on COVID-19), and the account will have limited functionality for 12 hours,” the Twitter spokespeople wrote.
According to Twitter’s explanation of its “range of enforcement options,” the company takes action against users “at the account level if we determine that a person has violated the Twitter Rules in a particularly egregious way, or has repeatedly violated them even after receiving notifications from us.”
A Twitter spokesperson would not confirm whether the screenshot shared online by Surabian was authentic or specify which tweet by Trump violated the company’s policies.
But Trump appears to have been penalized for a tweet he posted Monday evening which included a video of a woman promoting the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure and discouraging the use of face masks.
The woman claimed to be a Houston physician and was surrounded by others in white lab coats outside what appeared to be the U.S. Supreme Court. Footage of her remarks had circulated widely among conservatives on social media.
After President Donald Trump retweeted an excerpt of the speech late Monday, Twitter flagged the post and removed it from the president’s feed.
The president tweeted more than a dozen times Monday night in defense of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, despite the fact that it has been found to be ineffective against the coronavirus.