A controversial video featuring a doctor falsely claiming that “hydroxychloroquine cures Covid” was shared by Madonna, prompting Instagram to flag the post as “false information” hours after parent company Facebook took steps to scrub the viral clip from the platform.
The video features Houston-based doctor Stella Immanuel, claiming that she had treated 350 coronavirus patients using the antimalarial drug and that “none of them had died,” alongside a group identifying as “America’s Frontline Doctors” in front of the Supreme Court.
Immanuel claimed several times that hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for Covid, despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health that the drug should not be used as a treatment for coronavirus.
Madonna posted a version to her Instagram feed, alongside a caption that read: “The truth will set us all Free! But some people don’t want to hear the truth.”Instagram blurred the post and labeled it “false information,” adding that the information had been “reviewed by independent fact-checkers.”
Posts flagged as “false” by Instagram are less visible in users’ feeds, stories, hashtags and Explore page, according to Instagram.
Madonna has 15.4 million followers on Instagram.
In March, Madonna addressed her Instagram followers from her bathtub, calling coronavirus “the great equalizer,” and previously claimed she was immune from the virus after testing positive for coronavirus antibodies.
The clip was viewed 17 million times within less than 12 hours on Breitbart’s Facebook page. A version was even retweeted by President Trump and Donald Trump Jr., before being taken down from Facebook on Monday for “sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.” YouTube and Twitter also attempted to take down versions of the video circulating online..
Immanuel describes herself as a “Deliverance Minister,” whose extreme and bizarre views have gone as far as claiming that alien DNA is used in medical treatments. At a press conference on Tuesday, Trump, who has previously touted and used hydroxychloroquine, called Immanuel “very impressive”. “I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her,” he said, before making an abrupt exit moments later.
I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at email@example.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.