Image: Screenshot, Feb. 12, 2021. Source: Instagram @robertfkennedyjr
Instagram removed the account of prominent anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday “for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” a violation of the photo-sharing platform's content policies, according to reports.
Facebook Inc (Nasdaq: FB), Instagram’s parent company, declined to say which specific posts prompted him to be banned, The Wall Street Journal reported, but there is no shortage of candidates.
The Associated Press noted that Kennedy Jr. posted in late January to his 800,000 Instagram followers that he believed COVID-19 vaccinations were dangerous, despite studies on tens of thousands of people that found no serious side effects.
Kennedy Jr., the son of former U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, is an environmental lawyer who frequently uses his social media accounts to share unproven claims about vaccinations, as well as his concerns about large pharmaceutical firms and environmental health.
Last year, he was cited as one of the top spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit organization that fights online hate speech and misinformation. Kennedy Jr. also founded Children’s Health Defense, which CCDH calls a leading anti-vaccine charity.
His removal from Instagram is the latest step by Facebook to combat misinformation regarding COVID-19 and comes a few days after the company announced it was "going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims, as reported by The Associated Press.
Kennedy Jr.’s Facebook page, which has a following of over 300,000 users, remains active, and a Twitter account belonging to Kennedy Jr. that has 200,000 followers is also still live.
Source: Equities News