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Trump Jr.’s ban on Twitter; Mark Zuckerberg with explanation

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Twitter on Tuesday penalized Donald Trump Jr. for posting misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, the social media giant said, underlining the tough stance it has taken in policing misleading posts from high-profile users, including President Trump, in recent months.

Twitter said that it ordered the president’s son to delete the misleading tweet and that it would “limit some account functionality for 12 hours.” Trump Jr. can still direct-message followers using his account, but he cannot tweet, retweet or like other tweets during the 12-hour restriction.

Trump Jr.’s deleted tweet now shows a notice that says, “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”

The tweet, which featured a viral video showing a group of doctors making misleading and false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, was directly tweeted by Trump Jr.’s account. That contrasts with his father, who retweeted multiple tweets from others showing clips of the same video to his 84.2 million followers Monday night.

Twitter removed the videos, deleting several of the tweets that President Trump shared, and added a note to its trending topics warning about the potential risks of hydroxychloroquine use.

“Tweets with the video are in violation of our covid-19 misinformation policy,” Liz Kelley, a spokeswoman for Twitter.

Donald Trump Jr. spokesman Andy Surabian said the restriction was “further proof that Big Tech is intent on killing free expression online and is another instance of them committing election interference to stifle Republican voices.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump addressed the video at his press briefing Tuesday afternoon and reiterated his support for hydroxychloroquine.

“There was a group of doctors yesterday, a large group, that were put on the internet and for some reason the internet wanted to take them down and took them off,” he said. “…I don’t know why, I think they’re very respected doctors.” He added of Twitter, Facebook and other companies that removed the video, “maybe they had a good reason, maybe they didn’t, I dont know.”

It’s the first time Trump Jr. has had his tweeting privileges removed by the company, although Rudolph W. Giuliani, a fellow surrogate for the president, had his account temporarily locked in March for tweeting misinformation about hydroxychloroquine. Trump Jr. retweeted a tweet from his father’s reelection campaign earlier this year that Twitter labeled as violating its policy on manipulated media.

President Trump has not faced the same tweeting lockout, but Twitter has attached warning labels to five of his tweets in the past two months for running up against the site’s rules.

Trump shared clips from the video — which claims that masks and shutdowns are not needed to stop the spread of the virus — as he shared 14 tweets over half an hour defending the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that the president has repeatedly promoted, and attacking Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert.

On Monday evening, Facebook scrubbed from its site the same viral video after more than 14 million people watched it. Facebook was still removing posts of the video Tuesday morning. YouTube said it also removed the video.

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Wildfires spread: 200 homes evacuated in California

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A wildfire in Southern California that began Friday evening amid blazing temperatures spread across 1,900 acres and prompted evacuations.

Officials confirmed in a tweet Saturday morning that the flames were zero percent contained. The Riverside County Fire Department responded with air and ground resources, and at least 375 firefighters were assigned to the blaze, dubbed the Apple Fire.

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Mayor Sylvester Turner donates $ 19 million to the people of Houston.

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Houston — A second assistance program is going to be available for Houston renters who are struggling to keep up with their payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a $19 million rental assistance program with $15 million coming from the city’s CARES Act funding and $4 million coming from private donations which were raised in the last 36 hours.

Houston Endowment Inc. donated $2 million while the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund and the Kinder Foundation donated $1 million each.

Turner said they hope to grow the fund to $20-25 million by next week. City Council has to first approve the plan next Wednesday.

The announcement comes the same day millions of Americans are losing their extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit from the CARES Act.

The money will help renters that don’t qualify for federal relief dollars and cover legal assistance.

Baker Ripley will once again administer the program.

The mayor said this will help thousands more families on top of the 13,000 helped during their first rental relief program in May.

The funding will not be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

He added they’ve learned lessons since then.

“Not first-come, first-serve,” Turner said. “Want to design metrics for those who need it the most. Restricted last time because it was just federal dollars. Now we’re combining with non-federal dollars.”

The mayor explained they are trying to design metrics that will help those in most need, especially residents who face immediate eviction.

If you have a lease, you qualify for this second relief program. Some of the funding will be set aside for people who didn’t quality for help from the CARES Act.

Undocumented immigrants will also be eligible for relief under this second program.

The program also provides funding for Lone Star Legal Aid to help renters.

“We want to keep people in their homes,” Turner said.

The mayor is asking justices of the peace to be thoughtful in this time when it comes to eviction notices.

The Houston Apartment Association is also working on developing a voluntary grace period to help renters.

urner also pleaded Friday afternoon with the state and federal governments to help the city.

“We won’t meet every need but we’ll do our part,” Turner said. “Congress, if you’re listening, Mr. President, if you’re listening, people need your help and they need your help now.”

The first program was provided in May. The $15 million meant to help Houstonians pay rent was gone in less than 90 minutes.

READ: Fort Bend residents in need of help can now apply for Phase 2 of rental, mortgage relief program

“If we had kept it open there would have been thousands more who would have applied, we had to cut it off because there was no money there,” Turner said at the time.

At the time, the City of Houston Housing Department acknowledged the funding was nowhere near enough to meet the need of all Houstonians.

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