Robert Kennedy Jr’s anti-vaccine group removed by Facebook, Instagram
Social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have suspended a prominent anti-vaccine group that was responsible for spreading misinformation around Covid-19 and vaccines. The non profit anti-vaccine group, Children’s Health Defense (CHD), is one of the most influential groups against vaccines that is active on social media. The group led by Robert Kennedy Jr has spread misleading information and claims regarding Covid-19 vaccines and other public health measures related to the pandemic.
Kennedy, a leading “anti-vaxxer”, has been the focal point of controversy for repeatedly sharing false claims. He was himself struck from Instagram in 2021, but his personal page on Facebook is still active. Public health advocates and experts of misinformation have criticized and called out Facebook for being too late in acting to contain harmful misinformation around Covid-19 and vaccines.
“Today’s step is too late and too little,” said Karen Kornbluh, the director of the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative. She added that social media platforms must work more actively to address the cause of misinformation. “It even leaves up RFK Jr’s public Facebook page. In addition, both RFK Jr and CHD remain active on Twitter, showing how inadequate the Whac-A-Mole approach is to conspiracy campaigns. Instead platforms must address the algorithms and other design loopholes that allow their sites to be weaponized in the first place.”
“Facebook is acting here as a surrogate for the federal government’s crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies,” Kennedy said defending his actions and calling out the platforms for suspending his page.
The action was confirmed by Facebook and Instagram on Thursday. “We removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our policies,” a spokesman for Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, told the The Associated Press. Under the policies of the platform, suspensions of accounts and pages are typically enforced only after there are multiple violations.