Story at a glance

  • The son of the former senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy had more than 800,000 Instagram followers before the account was removed this week.
  • Facebook said the account was removed for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.
  • Kennedy has criticized vaccines for years and has been cited as one of the most prominent spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation by the nonprofit organization Center for Countering Digital Hate, a group that advocates against extremism and misinformation online.

Instagram on Wednesday permanently removed the account of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after he repeatedly shared misinformation about the coronavirus on the social media platform. 

“We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” Facebook, which owns Instagram, said in a statement. 


Our country is in a historic fight against the Coronavirus. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


The son of the former senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy had more than 800,000 Instagram followers before the account was removed this week. As of Thursday, however, Kennedy’s Facebook page that has more than 300,000 followers was still active. His Twitter account, where he frequently criticizes vaccines, was also active as of Thursday. 

The move comes after Facebook earlier this week announced it was ramping up efforts to remove posts that spread false information about COVID-19 vaccines and “vaccines in general.” While the company had already prohibited false vaccine claims in paid ads, it’s now expanding the policy, meaning unpaid posts that Facebook deems to be vaccine misinformation are subject to removal. 

Pages and accounts that “repeatedly share these debunked claims” may be taken down from the site entirely, Facebook said Monday. 

Kennedy has criticized vaccines for years and has been cited as one of the most prominent spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation by the nonprofit organization Center for Countering Digital Hate, a group that advocates against extremism and misinformation online. 

Kennedy chairs the Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit group that is critical of the health benefits of vaccines, and has regularly pushed unsubstantiated links between vaccines and autism. He has also claimed the vaccines are linked to several deaths, including that of baseball star Hank Aaron, who died last month of a stroke. 


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW

IS IT DANGEROUS OR SMART TO GET TWO DIFFERENT COVID-19 VACCINES?

BIDEN SAYS TRUMP’S COVID-19 RESPONSE WAS ‘EVEN MORE DIRE THAN WE THOUGHT’

THE FIRST 22M AMERICANS HAVE BEEN VACCINATED — WITH ‘REASSURING’ RESULTS, CDC SAYS

SOUTH AFRICA COVID-19 STRAIN IS LIKELY SPREADING, BUT VACCINES REMAIN ‘STRONG TOOL’: CDC

PFIZER AND MODERNA VACCINES MAY BE EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT


 

Published on Feb 11, 2021