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Facebook removes Jair Bolsonaro’s video linking Covid-19 gunfire to AIDS | World news


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro found himself on a social media hiatus on Monday after his video warning of a suspected link between Covid-19 vaccines and AIDS, action triggered by Facebook and YouTube.

Facebook deleted the offending video, while YouTube went further, suspending the far-right leader for a week in addition to blocking the clip.

“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policies on Covid-19 by claiming that vaccines do not reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement sent to AFP.

Bolsonaro’s latest clash with social media networks, including Facebook, which he relies heavily on to rally his base, came after he cited so-called “official reports” from the UK government – since debunked – in his weekly address in live on Facebook last Thursday.

He claimed that the reports “suggest that people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome much faster than expected.”

“I recommend that you read the article,” he added, without saying where the information came from.

“I’m not going to read it here because I don’t want to lose my live video on Facebook.”

Facebook, which deleted comments late Sunday or early Monday, has deleted Bolsonaro’s posts in the past.

Previously, he had discovered that he had spread disinformation or instigated people to violate social distancing policies. But this is the first time that he has withdrawn one of his weekly live addresses, the cornerstone of his communications.

Bolsonaro has also broken YouTube standards once before, and the company said the president would not be able to post new videos or live stream for seven days.

The rest of his videos on the channel, where he has 3.5 million subscribers, will remain accessible.

The British government has denied such “reports” cited by Bolsonaro, in response to an AFP fact-checking team.

The Brazilian Society of Infectious Disease Specialists said in a statement that there was no evidence of a relationship between Covid-19 vaccines and AIDS.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The president has said he is not planning to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and has joked in the past that the vaccine could “turn you into an alligator.”