Expert on vaccine: “It will not have a chip, nor manipulation” (2020) 0:58
(CNN Business) – Instagram on Wednesday deleted the account of controversial anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“We removed this account for repeatedly sharing discredited claims about coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Facebook, owner of Instagram, said in a statement.RELATED
Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, the late former Attorney General, senator and US presidential candidate, has repeatedly spoken out against vaccines. He has lobbied Congress to grant parents waivers of state requirements that require their children to be vaccinated. However, the longtime Democrat qualifies his views against vaccines by saying that he is actually in favor of safe vaccines, noting that all of his children have been vaccinated.
Kennedy’s Facebook page, with more than 300,000 followers, was still active at the time of publication. The company spokesperson said there were no plans to remove that page “at this time.”
Children’s Health Defense, the nonprofit group Kennedy chairs that expresses skepticism about the health benefits of vaccines, said it could not immediately comment on the Instagram actions.
Facebook vs. anti-vaccine
Facebook has fought for years to stamp out misinformation about vaccines and announced another effort to do so earlier this week.
On Monday, the company announced several ways it plans to better combat vaccine misinformation, including difficulty finding accounts through Facebook-owned Instagram searches that discourage people from getting vaccinated.
The announcement comes a day after CNN Business reported that Instagram continued to feature anti-vaccine accounts prominently in its search results, while Facebook groups criticizing vaccines remained easy to find. The findings raised concern among public health experts as the United States is in the midst of its largest vaccination plan to address the coronavirus pandemic.