Twitter locks account encouraging coronavirus ‘chickenpox parties’

On Wednesday, Twitter briefly locked conservative site The Federalist’s account for suggesting people deliberately expose themselves to the novel coronavirus. The Federalist promoted the medically unsound idea of “medical ‘chickenpox parties’” to infect young, healthy people with the virus under controlled quarantine.

The tweet was removed for violating the social media platform’s policies, and a Twitter spokesperson tells The Verge that “the account was temporarily locked for violating the Twitter Rules regarding COVID-19.”

Twitter bans coronavirus-related content that “goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.” That includes tweets promoting ineffective or counterproductive treatments, denying the effectiveness of measures like social distancing, or contradicting known public health facts.

The Federalist was tweeting an article where an Oregon physician urged readers to “seriously consider a somewhat unconventional approach” to the pandemic. But “unconventional” is a bit of a euphemism. The hospital system is overloaded even without deliberate infections, and unlike with chickenpox, we don’t know how long COVID-19 immunity lasts. In other words, hosting a coronavirus “chickenpox party” is a very bad idea.

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