The president's oldest son was temporarily blocked from writing new tweets, but he can still send direct messages and read other posts, Twitter said

By Adam Carlson
July 28, 2020 11:11 AM
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Donald Trump Jr.
Lou Rocco/ABC

Twitter temporarily blocked Donald Trump Jr. from part of his account on Tuesday as punishment for him "sharing misinformation on COVID-19," the social media company said.

President Donald Trump's oldest son — who has cultivated millions of followers in the pugilistic and provocative style of his dad — on Monday shared a viral video that included a group of doctors making false, deceptive and unsupported statements about the novel coronavirus, according to The Washington Post.

The video appears to have originated with the website Breitbart and showed the doctors speaking about the coronavirus from outside the Supreme Court.

The president had posted that same video, which spread widely on social media before Facebook and other platforms began removing it, the Post reported.

According to the Associated Press the video featured the doctors, some of whom have publicly supported President Trump, "telling Americans they do not need to wear masks to prevent coronavirus while also pitching hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug the president has previously touted himself."

Studies have shown hydroxychloroquine is not effective as a viral treatment despite earlier hopes before it was tested. Studies have, conversely, supported the usefulness of masks.

Andy Surabian, a spokesman for Don Jr., decried his Twitter "suspension" and said it was akin to censorship intended to boost the president's rival Joe Biden in the November election.

"Big Tech is the biggest threat to free expression in America today & they're continuing to engage in open election interference - full stop," Surabian tweeted Tuesday.

However, Don Jr.'s account remains active.

An official Twitter account responded to Surabian to correct him, writing that Don Jr. "will have limited functionality for 12 hours" and be unable to write new tweets or retweet other users.

But he can still send direct messages and read other posts.

A Twitter spokesman compared it to a "time out" when speaking with PEOPLE and said it "happens to a lot of people when they break our rules."

Twitter, which is President Trump's favored mode for communicating with the public, has increasingly begun to regulate the posts of his that break their rules — after years of criticism that his most incendiary tweets were given special treatment versus regular users.

(Twitter has said they believe his comments are newsworthy and have been reluctant to interfere.)

Earlier this year, the site added fact-checking labels to Trump's tweets about mail-in ballots and hid a post that they said was "glorifying violence."

The president has reacted angrily to these moves, saying they unfairly suppress him.