Facebook is feeling increasingly emboldened to throw its weight around on the world stage, showing world leaders the extent of its power.
Facebook temporarily suspended the official page of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela for repeated violations of its COVID-19 “misinformation” policies. Over the past year, the Venezuelan president has promoted COVID-19 remedies and cures that have not been found effective by the United States' CDC and the WHO.
In a video posted on Facebook in January, Maduro touted Carvativir, an oral medication extracted from thyme, as a “miracle” drug that fights the coronavirus, with the added advantage of no side effects. Doctors in Venezuela have labeled Maduro's claims about Carvatavir effectiveness against the coronavirus as “dangerous.”
Facebook's COVID-19 misinformation policies prohibits content claiming “that something can guarantee prevention from getting COVID-19 or can guarantee recovery from COVID-19.”
“We follow guidance from the WHO (World Health Organization) that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only.”
Last month, Maduro said that Facebook had censored videos in which he promoted Carvativir, confirming he had repeatedly violated the platform's policies. In the past, he has accused social media platforms of unfair treatment of him and his allies, including alleged arbitrary suspensions of accounts.
Twitter has also previously censored Maduro's content about the coronavirus. Last March, despite having policies against the censorship of world leaders unless the tweet explicitly breaks its other rules, Twitter removed a tweet where Maduro promoted a “brew” that could “eliminate the infectious genes” of the coronavirus.
Maduro is a frequent social media user, and has even broadcast some of his speeches on Facebook Live.