Facebook takes down Bolsonaro video over false vaccine claim

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) late on Sunday removed a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from its platforms, in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS.

“Our policies don’t allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” a Facebook spokesperson said on Monday.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), COVID-19 vaccines approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV, the virus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS.

In July, Alphabet (GOOGL.O) removed from Bolsonaro’s YouTube channel videos in which the Brazilian president recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, despite scientific proof that these drugs are not effective in treating the disease.

Since then, Bolsonaro has avoided naming both drugs on his live broadcasts, saying the videos could be removed and advocating “early treatment” in general for COVID-19.

The video in which Bolsonaro linked COVID-19 vaccines to AIDS, first broadcast on Thursday, remained available on YouTube as of Monday.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Additional reporting by Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Writing by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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