Instagram Bans Anti-Vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. For Spreading Covid-19 Misinformation

Instagram Bans Anti-Vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. For Spreading Covid-19 Misinformation
Robert F. Kennedy at a protest against coronavirus-related restrictions and government policy on August 29, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo: Sean Gallup, Getty Images)

Instagram has banned notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for spreading misinformation about covid-19 and the safety of vaccines. Strangely, Kennedy is still doing the exact same schtick on Instagram’s parent platform Facebook, a place where he hasn’t been banned. At least not yet.

Kennedy, the son of former Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, has spent years questioning the safety of vaccines generally and believes covid-19 vaccines are inherently dangerous.

Kennedy runs a nonprofit called Children’s Health Defence that campaigns against not just vaccines but things like fluoridated drinking water and wireless communications technology, which Kennedy believes cause serious health problems. Kennedy is a longtime advocate of the debunked theory that vaccines cause autism.

Facebook formally banned covid-19 vaccine misinformation in ads back in October 2020 but the platform didn’t really take much action against anti-vaxxers until recently. The company announced on Monday that it would start to crack down on anti-vaxxers more seriously very soon and Kennedy’s ban seems to be a direct result of that initiative.

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Instagram told the Guardian that Kennedy was banned “for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” though a spokesperson for Facebook did not respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo overnight.

The U.S. has identified over 27.2 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began and more than 471,000 deaths. The U.S. has administered over 44.7 million doses of covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC website, though the two approved vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer, require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which hasn’t received emergency use authorisation from the FDA yet, is just one dose.

Kennedy, who has over 300,000 followers on Facebook, has long gone after social media companies for supposedly censoring him, despite the fact that he’s gained a huge platform through their tools. Kennedy, who identifies as left wing, has also been given a platform to speak on far-right media channels with hosts like Laura Ingraham from Fox News.

During a radio appearance with Ingraham on February 4, Kennedy said that Dr. Anthony Fauci, “is a very sinister guy who has turned this country over to Big Pharma.”

It’s a safe bet that we’ll see Kennedy on Fox News soon, given the supposed “censorship” he’s now facing from Big Tech.