Twitter pulls The Federalist’s dangerous ‘pox’ coronavirus tweet

A tweet by conservative online magazine The Federalist, which suggested people should deliberately infect themselves with the coronavirus strain COVID-19, has been pulled after it “violated” Twitter’s rules.

The infringing tweet, posted on Wednesday morning, said: “It is time to think outside the box and seriously consider a somewhat unconventional approach to COVID-19: controlled voluntary infection.”

A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed the tweet violated its new coronavirus-related rules.

The article focuses on “pox parties,” where parents would historically gather their young children together in order to infect their children with the common childhood disease. The theory goes that the child obtains the immunity and doesn’t suffer from the illness later in life, which can have far more serious medical implications. The article goes on to suggest this same principle should be used for the coronavirus strain, COVID-19, which to date has killed more than 20,000 people.

Governments, both federal and local, have unified behind mandating that people stay at home and self-isolate in the hope of slowing the spread of the virus to prevent overrunning the health systems.

Vice reports that the author, Doug Perednia is an unlicensed dermatologist in Oregon, where he lives.

Experts were quick to criticize Perednia’s article. Eugene Gu, a doctor and chief executive of Cool Quit, called the article “dangerous” and “irresponsible.” The article also used a racist term in its headline to describe the coronavirus, which Gu called the “racist cherry on top of dangerous and fake medical advice.”

One Twitter user said that sharing the link to The Federalist’s article was blocked because it was “potentially harmful.”

A spokesperson for The Federalist did not comment.

Twitter has taken an aggressive approach to misinformation by proactively verifying known experts to improve the flow of accurate information. It has also doubled down on its efforts to prevent disinformation by updating its policies to prohibit new tweets that “could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19.”