Facebook has removed a video posted by Breitbart News earlier today, which was the top-performing Facebook post in the world Monday afternoon, of a press conference in D.C. held by the group America’s Frontline Doctors and organized and sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots. The press conference featured Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and frontline doctors sharing their views and opinions on coronavirus and the medical response to the pandemic. YouTube (which is owned by Google) and Twitter subsequently removed footage of the press conference as well.
The video accumulated over 17 million views during the eight hours it was hosted on Facebook, with over 185,000 concurrent viewers.
The livestream had accumulated over 17 million views by the time of its censorship by Facebook.
In terms of viral velocity, the post was beating content from many other prominent accounts on Facebook today, including Hillary Clinton, Rev. Franklin Graham, and Kim Kardashian.
Over 185,000 viewers were concurrently watching the stream when it aired live Monday afternoon.
The event, hosted by the organization America’s Frontline Doctors, a group founded by Dr. Simone Gold, a board-certified physician and attorney, and made up of medical doctors, came together to address what the group calls a “massive disinformation campaign” about the coronavirus. Norman also spoke at the event.
“If Americans continue to let so-called experts and media personalities make their decisions, the great American experiment of a Constitutional Republic with Representative Democracy, will cease,” reads the event’s information page.
The event was organized and sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots.
“We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19,” a Facebook company spokesman, Andy Stone, told Breitbart News. The company did not specify what portion of the video it ruled to be “false information,” who it consulted to make that ruling, and on what basis it was made.
Stone replied to New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose on Twitter regarding the video:
The video appears to have been taken down from Facebook.
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) July 28, 2020
Stone then added that the platform would direct users who had interacted with the post to information on “myths debunked by the WHO.”
As Mark recently wrote about newsworthiness: "A handful of times a year, we leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm." It being from a publisher has zero to do with it."
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) July 28, 2020
Facebook’s decision to censor the livestream was quickly followed by YouTube, the Google-owned video-sharing platform. The video had over 80,000 views on YouTube prior to its removal.
Following Facebook and YouTube’s removal of the video, Twitter followed suit, removing Breitbart News’s Periscope livestream of the press conference. Jack Dorsey’s platform also then limited the Breitbart News official account, indicating that tweets containing links to multiple stories about the press conference violate the platform’s COVID-19 policies.