Facebook freezes Maduro's page over Covid claim

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image captionNicolás Maduro holds up his unproven herbal remedy "cure"

Facebook has frozen Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's page after he claimed without evidence that a herbal remedy could cure Covid-19.

He claimed in January that a thyme herb solution could cure the disease. He will be unable to post for 30 days.

The company said the leader had repeatedly violated its policies on coronavirus disinformation.

Mr Maduro is not the only world leader to face a pushback from social media companies over Covid.

Former US President Donald Trump and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro have also faced action over Covid posts.

A Facebook spokesperson told the BBC: "We removed a video posted to President Nicolás Maduro's page for violating our policies against misinformation about Covid-19 that is likely to put people at risk for harm.

"We follow guidance from the WHO [World Health Organization] that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus. Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only."

Last year, Facebook deleted a video from Brazil's President Bolsonaro over a claim that the drug hydroxychloroquine was totally effective in treating the virus.

And previously a Twitter post by Mr Maduro about a different fake remedy was also deleted.

In October, Facebook deleted a post in which Donald Trump claimed Covid-19 was "less lethal" than the flu.

It removed another in August that included a video of him falsely asserting that children were "almost immune from Covid-19".

Covid-19 disinformation on social media is a widespread problem.

A dozen people are responsible for spreading thousands of anti-vaccine posts on Facebook and Twitter, according to analysis by the UK-based Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

Among them is Robert F Kennedy Jr, a nephew of the former US president, who leads an anti-vaccine group.

Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina last year promoted an unproven herbal concoction called Covid-Organics, prompting the WHO to say traditional remedies should have scientific evidence to back their use.