Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro slammed the social media giant Facebook for freezing his page over alleged violation of policies. He had to use his wife’s Facebook account to broadcast a government briefing, after the social network temporarily suspended access to his page, reported Republic.
Maduro is restricted from posting on his page for a month for spreading misinformation about Covid-19 where he recommended the use of an antiviral treatment which has not yet been proven scientifically, said a company spokesperson.
The Venezuelan President in January had promoted Carvativir, an oral solution derived from thyme, as a “miracle” medication that allegedly neutralizes the coronavirus with no side effects. This claim is not backed by science, said doctors.
Facebook had immediately taken down a video that promoted the medication as it violates the company’s policy against false claims.
Maduro then shared a televised press conference saying, “Facebook, in a totalitarian and abusive way, censored me. They think they are above the rights to freedom of expression.”
On the other hand, a company spokesperson clarified, “We follow guidance from the World Health Organisation that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus infection. Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only.”
The Venezuelan President has been miffed with the social media giant and had previously alleged that he and his allies have been treated unfairly by social media companies, including the suspension of accounts.
Big Tech vs Governments:
Off late, the social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have been acting as editors rather than publishers of information. Twitter and Facebook have rubbed some countries the wrong way.
Facebook had in mid-February banned Australian news organizations from posting content on the platform and barred users based in Australia from linking to news articles from Australian and international outlets.
Italy in February had fined Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland Ltd. to the tune of $8.45 million for failing to implement a 2018 order, requiring them to abandon a wrongful practice in the use of user’s data. Facebook also failed to publish a corrective declaration disregarding the requests from the watchdog.
Facebook has faced a similar fine in Hungary, requiring to pay around $4.3 million to the country’s competition authority for falsely advertising its services as being free.
Be it de-platforming ex-US President, Donald Trump or blocking handles of a particular political leaning, Twitter and Facebook have both faced international criticism from many governments. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in an interview with CNN had admitted that most of the employees of Twitter have a left-leaning bias.
Countries across the globe have started to take coercive action against the bullish nature of the Big Techs who have been caught misusing their power especially to influence democratic elections.