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Facebook removes Bolsonaro video claiming vaccines cause AIDS

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

US: Facebook and Instagram have removed from their platforms a live broadcast that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro delivered in which he said people in the U.K. who have received two coronavirus vaccine doses are developing AIDS faster than expected.

Facebook’s press office confirmed in an emailed statement to The Associated Press that the content was removed on the night of October 24 because it violated Facebook policy regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

“Our policies don’t allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” the statement said. The company didn’t respond to AP questions regarding why three days elapsed before the much-criticized content was removed nor whether language barriers played a role, as Bolsonaro was speaking in Portuguese.

The claim was among the most bizarre that the President, who contracted the virus last year and remains unvaccinated, has made about immunization against the coronavirus to date. He spent months sowing doubt about vaccines, especially the one produced by Chinese firm Sinovac. He also warned Brazilians that there would be no legal recourse against Pfizer for anyone suffering side effects, and joked that might include women growing beards or people transforming into alligators.But October 25 marked the first time Facebook removed one of Bolsonaro’s weekly live broadcasts that serve as a direct channel of communication with his supporters and tend to rack up hundreds of thousands of views. President Bolsonaro has 14.6 million followers on Facebook, and almost 19 million on Instagram. – THE HINDU

Thursday, October 28, 2021 – 01:00

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