Instagram on Wednesday banned Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of former presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, from repeatedly posting misinformation about vaccine security and COVID-19.
Kennedy Jr. has amassed an enormous following on social media, the place he continuously posts debunked or unproven claims about vaccines. He additionally makes use of his social media pages to publish about giant pharmaceutical corporations and environmental well being considerations.
“We eliminated this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims in regards to the coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Fb, which owns Instagram, stated Thursday.
In an emailed assertion, Kennedy Jr. stood by his Instagram posts, including they’ve been rigorously vetted.
“This type of censorship is counterproductive if our goal is a secure and efficient vaccine provide,” he stated.
Correlation between the pandemic and misinformation
Most not too long ago, Kennedy Jr. has posted misinformation about COVID vaccines. In a late January publish, he described COVID vaccines which might be at the moment being administered within the U.S. as posing a possible hazard, regardless of research on tens of hundreds of those who discovered no severe uncomfortable side effects.
The suspension of Kennedy Jr.’s Instagram account comes simply days after Fb, which owns Instagram, introduced it might step up efforts to dam the unfold of vaccine misinformation, together with claims that the photographs are ineffective, poisonous, harmful or trigger autism. International locations all over the world are ramping up efforts to inoculate residents with model of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nonetheless, Kennedy Jr.’s Fb web page, which has a following of greater than 300,000 customers, remained lively as of Thursday morning. The corporate didn’t instantly reply to questions on Kennedy’s Fb account.
A Twitter account belonging to Kennedy Jr. additionally stays dwell, the place he has greater than 200,000 followers.
The controversial environmental lawyer has for years helped to popularize a debunked conspiracy concept that vaccines might trigger autism, though repeated scientific research within the U.S. and overseas have discovered no proof linking vaccines to the developmental dysfunction.
Earlier this week Fb introduced it might ban advertisements on its platform that discourage vaccinations — with an exception carved out for advertisements about authorities vaccine insurance policies. Unpaid posts by individuals or teams that discourage vaccinations will nonetheless be allowed.
Fb has taken different steps to attempt to cease the unfold of vaccine and coronavirus-related misinformation on its platform. Final yr, it stated it might start hiding teams and pages that unfold misinformation about vaccinations from the search operate of its website.
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