San Francisco (AFP)

Facebook, under pressure from both the right and the left on its content moderation policy, toughened its tone with Donald Trump: the social network on Wednesday removed from the president's page a video that violated its rules on disinformation around the Covid-19 pandemic.

The clip showed the Republican billionaire explaining in an interview with Fox News that children were "almost completely" immune, by their age, to the new coronavirus.

"This video includes false claims that a certain group of people are not likely to catch Covid-19, which violates our policy on dangerous disinformation around the disease," said a spokesperson for the disease. platform, joined by AFP.

This is the first time that Facebook has directly censored Donald Trump.

In July, the platform added a briefing note to a post by the president accusing postal voting of promoting corruption.

In June, she removed ads from the president's campaign team featuring Nazi symbols.

So many decisions that risk reviving the inclinations of the president and his party to take retaliatory measures against social networks, which the Republicans accuse of being biased in favor of the opposition.

Elected Democrats and civil society consider them that Facebook tolerates too much lying or defamatory remarks by the tenant of the White House.

- Moderation under tension -

The social media giant has promised to be intractable on certain subjects, such as disinformation linked to the pandemic or the democratic conduct of the elections.

But it has acquired a reputation for laxity vis-à-vis political content, because it exempts the statements of elected officials and candidates from its fact-checking program and allows political advertising, in the name of freedom of expression, unlike Twitter.

At the end of May, a Facebook decision set fire to the powder, when his boss Mark Zuckerberg refused to censor remarks by Donald Trump widely interpreted as inciting violence against anti-racism protesters.

Twitter, for its part, had pinned the president's tweet.

Furious, he had signed a decree threatening to change a law that provides digital platforms with great freedom in terms of content moderation.

His camp rallied around him.

During a hearing last week of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon before a parliamentary committee on the respect of competition law, the elected conservatives thus mainly focused on these questions.

"The + Big Tech + have opened the hunt for conservatives, it is a fact," said Jim Jordan, a close ally of Donald Trump, affirming that the platforms were doing everything to silence Republicans.

The pressure does not decrease on the left either.

Facebook is the subject of a vast advertising boycott from associations and companies demanding more severe moderation of content that incites hatred.

- Innocence and immunity -

Wednesday afternoon, during a press conference, the tenant of the White House reiterated his opinion on the immune system of children in the face of Covid-19.

"Children cope with the Chinese virus very well. They can catch it, but the impact on them is small if you look at the numbers in terms of mortality. Young children have very, very strong immune systems," he said. He insists.

In the United States, the debate rages on the reopening of schools, recommended by the American Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), and strongly defended by Donald Trump.

But the country is still struggling to cope with the pandemic and some school districts want to continue distance education.

Young children represent an ultra-minority proportion of hospitalizations for Covid-19 and deaths have been very rare so far.

However, studies have shown that although they are less vulnerable than adults, they can catch and transmit the disease.

© 2020 AFP