Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff appears to have violated Twitter’s policy as one of his tweets which allegedly promotes unproven remedy against COVID-19 has been deleted. According to a report by The Star, several netizens have criticised the MDEC Chairman for being irresponsible as his claims may cause confusion and misinformation.
It was reported that he tweeted “Try this… I have started… May help to prevent virus attack!” along with an image of an ayurvedic concoction that titled “Corona Kashayam” on his personal account. The so-called remedy made by boiling turmeric, cloves, lemons, and ginger with water has been debunked and there’s no evidence that it can prevent or minimise the risk of COVID-19.
Before his tweet was taken down, MalaysiaKini journalist Aidila Razak had called him out for sharing the unproven remedy which could lead to harm. Rais justifies his tweet by stressing the mention of the word “May”.
Some had came to his defense saying that Rais was merely suggesting and it may or may not work. Rais also tried to distance himself from the COVID-19 claim by stating that he only mentioned to “prevent virus attack” and he never said COVID-19. He also tweeted that if anyone don’t want to use traditional medicine, it’s your freedom not to use it. He added “whatever works we try! Traditional or modern medicine”.
Since the early phases of the pandemic, Twitter had updated its policies to tackle potential misinformation related to COVID-19. Users are required to remove tweets that could incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder. This also includes tweets involving denial of expert guidance and encouragement of fake or ineffective treatments, prevents and diagnostic techniques.
Back in October, Tun Mahathir’s tweet was also deleted due to his controversial remarks in response to a killing in France. His original tweet was flagged by Twitter for glorifying violence. Initially, the tweet was slapped with a warning label and eventually it was hidden from the timeline for violating Twitter rules.