Twitter confirmed Thursday it temporarily suspended the account of Dr. Stella Immanuel, a vocal proponent of an unproven novel coronavirus treatment social media services are trying to stop from spreading.
A spokesperson for Twitter said the account, @stella_immanuel, had violated the company’s rule against sharing misinformation about COVID-19, the disease caused by the potentially deadly novel coronavirus.
Twitter informed the account holder they would be unable to post again on the platform until after they remove the prohibited tweet and serve a 12-hour suspension, the spokesperson told The Washington Times.
A tweet posted by the account on Tuesday this week containing a video in which the doctor falsely claimed a cure exists for COVID-19 has since disappeared.
Dr. Immanuel did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
“Twitter is trying to silence me without looking bad,” she said on Facebook late Wednesday. “Shame on you twitter.”
Virtually unknown before this week, Dr. Immanuel made waves after speaking Monday outside the Supreme Court in support of treating COVID-19 using the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which some clinical testing has found ineffective against the incurable contagious respiratory disease and potentially dangerous if used improperly.
Other studies, such as one published by the Henry Ford Health System in early July, however, have suggested administering the drug may help cut the fatality rate among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
A video Dr. Immanuel posted on Twitter calling it a “cure” for the virus was shared by President Trump’s account that evening, among others, helping the clip garner millions of views before it was pulled down for violating the platform’s policy against promoting COVID-19 misinformation.
In the second tweet that seemed to spark the suspension, Dr. Immanuel once again falsely touted hydroxychloroquine as being able to “cure” COVID-19 and claimed it could “stop COVID in its tracks.”
Twitter’s rules against coronavirus misinformation explicitly states it will require users to remove tweets containing “alleged cures” for COVID-19.
Mr. Trump, who has previously lauded hydroxychloroquine, defended himself Wednesday from a backlash he brought on by promoting the doctor’s claim, meanwhile.
“I was very impressed by her. Know nothing about her; I had never seen her before. But certainly you can put her up and let her have a voice,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside the White House.
More than 17 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide since the disease was discovered late last year, according to tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.