Madonna posted a video on Instagram in which she made false claims about COVID-19, only to first have it flagged for spreading “false information,” and then later deleted entirely, USA Today reported.
On Tuesday, the singer, who has a history of making controversial claims about the pandemic, posted a video in which she made some claims about the virus for which there is no evidence to back them up. Specifically, as BBC News reported, she claimed that a vaccine against the illness has already been found, but that it’s being withheld to “let the rich get richer.”
Initially, before it was removed, the post drew ire in the comments, including some from fellow celebrities. Singer Annie Lennox accused her of promoting quackery.
“This is utter madness!!! I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery,” Lennox said, adding that she hoped Madonna’s account had been hacked and that an explanation would be forthcoming.
Instagram at first blurred the video, and flagged it for propagating “false information.” The process of flagging the post, Instagram later clarified, makes it harder for users to discover “by filtering it from Explore and Hashtags, and reducing its visibility in Feed and Stories.”
Further, the social media outlet added a disclaimer to the video, which read: “Reviewed by independent fact-checkers.” When users clicked the button labeled, “See Why,” they were shown a list of falsehoods in the post.
However, by Wednesday morning, the post had been completely removed.
Raki Wane, Instagram’s policy communications manager, confirmed that the platform made the decision to completely pull the post rather than leave it up with a disclaimer.
“We’ve removed this video for making false claims about cures and prevention methods for COVID-19. People who reacted to, commented on, or shared this video, will see messages directing them to authoritative information about the virus,” Wane said.
This is not the first time Madonna has made controversial claims about the coronavirus pandemic. At one point, she referred to it as “the great equalizer.” She also claimed to have tested positive for antibodies to the pathogen, and that she was going to take a drive and “breathe in the COVID-19 air.”
Earlier this week, the topic of social media platforms policing content that makes false claims about the pandemic was a source of multiple headlines. As reported by The Inquisitr, Donald Trump Jr. posted a video on Twitter that purported to show a group of doctors claiming that neither masks nor social distancing are necessary to battle COVID-19, and that hydroxychloroquine cures it.
Twitter temporarily limited the functionality of Trump Jr.’s account in response.