Instagram on Wednesday took down the account of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the political scion and outstanding anti-vaccine activist, for false info associated to the coronavirus.
“We deleted this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims in regards to the coronavirus or vaccines,” Instagram proprietor Fb mentioned in an announcement.
Mr. Kennedy, the son of former US Senator and Lawyer Basic Robert F. Kennedy, labored for many years as an environmental lawyer, however is now finest generally known as an anti-vaccine crossover. A 2019 examine discovered that two teams, together with its nonprofit, now known as Youngsters’s Well being Protection, funded greater than half of Fb advertisements spreading vaccine misinformation.
He discovered a good bigger viewers throughout the pandemic on platforms like Instagram, the place he had 800,000 followers. Though Mr Kennedy has mentioned he doesn’t oppose vaccines whereas they’re secure, he commonly endorses the discredited hyperlinks between vaccines and autism and has argued that it’s safer to get the coronavirus than to d ‘be vaccinated towards it.
Fb is change into extra aggressive in its efforts to stamp out vaccine misinformation, saying this week it would take away posts containing false claims in regards to the coronavirus, coronavirus vaccines and vaccines typically, whether or not they’re paid commercials or user-generated posts. Along with Mr. Kennedy’s Instagram account, the corporate mentioned it deleted a number of different Instagram accounts and Fb pages on Wednesday underneath its up to date insurance policies.
They didn’t embrace Mr. Kennedy’s Fb web page, which was nonetheless energetic as of early Thursday and makes lots of the similar baseless claims to greater than 300,000 followers. The corporate mentioned it isn’t robotically deactivating accounts on its platforms and that there aren’t any plans to delete Mr. Kennedy’s Fb account “at the moment.”
The Youngsters’s Well being Advocate didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Members of Mr Kennedy’s household have spoken out towards his anti-vaccine efforts, together with a brother, sister and niece who accused him of spreading “harmful misinformation” in a newspaper. column they wrote for Politico in 2019. One other niece, Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, a health care provider at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Middle, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Occasions in December to problem her claims.
“I like my Uncle Bobby,” she wrote. “I love him for a lot of causes, one among which is his decades-long battle for a cleaner atmosphere. However in relation to vaccines, he’s incorrect.