YouTube, Facebook and Instagram delete a video of a head of state linking the “Corona vaccine to AIDS”

On Monday, YouTube suspended the activities of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for a week, after removing a video clip in which he mentioned incorrect information linking a vaccine against the Corona virus to AIDS.

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

This is the second time the president has violated the site’s “standards”, and for the next seven days he will not be able to publish any new videos or go live, according to YouTube’s rules.

The rest of his videos on his 3.5 million-subscribed channel are still available on YouTube.

On Monday, Facebook and Instagram deleted the clip for the same reason. In the video broadcast live last Thursday, Bolsonaro mentions a rumor that official reports from the British government “indicate” that fully vaccinated people develop HIV “much faster than expected.”

But this information was denied by the British government in its interview with the fact-finding service in the Agence France-Presse.

For its part, the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases confirmed Saturday in a statement that “there is no known relationship between any vaccine against Covid-19 and the development of acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS).”

AFP asked President Bolsonaro’s press office for a response, but did not receive an answer. Nor has there been any reaction from the far-right Brazilian president regarding the ban of his YouTube channel.

“The content was removed Sunday night because it violated Facebook’s policy on COVID-19 vaccines,” Facebook’s press office confirmed in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.

“Our policy does not allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” the statement said.

The company did not respond to Associated Press questions about why the content (the video), which was widely criticized, remained three days before it was deleted, or “whether language played a role in this”, as the Brazilian president was speaking in Portuguese.

One of the most outlandish claims was that the president, who contracted the virus last year and still refuses to receive the vaccine, has become immune to the virus.

Bolsonaro has spent months raising doubts about vaccines, especially the Sinovac vaccine produced by a Chinese company.

He also warned the Brazilians that there would be no legal way for Pfizer to sue anyone suffering from side effects from receiving its vaccine. He joked that those side effects might include women growing beards or people turning into crocodiles.

During a radio interview, Monday, Bolsonaro denounced criticism that he was spreading false news about the infection of Pfizer vaccine recipients with AIDS, and said that he had read a news article on the issue published last October, in Brazil.

In fact, the media published a loosely related story, but only related to the Russian “Sputnik V” vaccine, which is not authorized for use in Brazil, according to the fact-checking service “Os Fatos”.

 
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