Facebook Freezes Venezuelan President’s Page Following False COVID-19 Claims

Facebook holds more political leaders accountable for spread of disinformation about COVID-19. Reuters learned that Facebook froze the page of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s page for 30 days after promoting unsubstantiated claims that a thyme drug, Carvativir, cures COVID-19. Madurio’s page will still be visible, but his team can’t post more content until the freeze is over.

In a video message, Maduro incorrectly said that Carvativir is equivalent to “miracle drops” and can be used to both prevent and treat COVID-19 without side effects. The Facebook spokesperson, however, said the social network had followed World Health Organization guidelines showing no evidence of a cure for the disease.

The spokesperson added that Facebook had banned Maduro for “repeated violations” of his policy. The leader accused Facebook of censorship in February after posting more unfounded Carvativir videos.

This is not a bold move for Facebook. The company won’t risk significant retaliation for the freeze, and even a complete ban on the site in Venezuela wouldn’t hurt the results much. However, the move sends another signal that heads of state are not above the site’s disinformation policies.

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