Anti-vaccine Robert F Kennedy Jr Instagram account was taken down on Wednesday, 10 February 2021. RFK Jr. has been the subject of numerous debunkings and takedowns by myself and Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, and so many others across the interwebs, it is good to see that his anti-vaccine nonsense has been forced off of one social media platform.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, RFK Jr has doubled-down on his anti-vaccine rhetoric. He has made up or repeats all kinds of nonsense about the COVID-19 vaccine, most of them I and others have spent time refuting. So, let’s take a look at what happened with Instagram.
Anti-vaccine Robert F Kennedy Jr banned from Instagram
Among the anti-vaccine crowd, Robert F Kennedy Jr is probably the most prominent, joining other anti-vaxxers like Del BigTree and Andrew Wakefield in the upper atmosphere of that world. Facebook, which owns Instagram, had promised to crackdown on anti-vaccine, especially anti-COVID-19 vaccine, rhetoric.
Many of us who fight anti-vaccine nonsense on Facebook have heard this before, so many of us were happy and surprised that RFK Jr was targeted.
Robert F Kennedy Jr had about 800,000 followers on Instagram, where he posted anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and disinformation. Of course, he is not only a COVID-19 denier but also a COVID-19 vaccine denier.
Lately, he has shared false claims about Bill Gates and 5G cellular networks. Of course, he has long pushed the lie about vaccines and autism, which is utterly unsupported by powerful peer-reviewed scientific studies.
It is clear that RFK Jr has become a leading voice in the anti-vax movement for a few years, but the COVID-19 pandemic made him the go-to person for anti-COVID-19 vaccine pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and misinformation. Facebook, which has committed to ending those kinds of deceptions that could lead to hampering public health efforts in ending the pandemic.
According to Facebook, “We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.”
Unfortunately for those who are looking for accurate information on vaccines, Robert F. Kennedy Jr still gets to push his anti-vaccine nonsense on Facebook. There seems to be a huge dollop of inconsistency in Facebook’s policies at this point in time, so I hope his Facebook page will also be taken down.
I’m appalled that this man continues to have an outlet for his disinformation campaign anywhere, but if Facebook really means it about squashing anti-vaccine rubbish on its platform, then it’s time for RFK Jr to be deplatformed across social media.
And for those of you making a First Amendment argument that RFK Jr has some right to spout his balderdash (I’m trying to find interesting synonyms for nonsense) on Instagram, you’d be wrong. The First Amendment protects you from the government suppressing your right to say nonsense, not a private company such as Facebook.
Furthermore, during this pandemic, we want to save lives, and every person who decides against or delays getting the COVID-19 vaccine is someone who could die. Facebook and Instagram have a social responsibility to save lives from people who are causing harm.
Maybe in some other context, we could argue about whether Facebook should censor anyone. But we need to save lives – and the COVID-19 vaccine saves lives.
RFK Jr. is wrong about vaccines
I want to remind everyone why the vaccine denier Robert F Kennedy Jr is very wrong about vaccines.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr is wrong about CDC patents.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr is wrong about the constitutionality of vaccine mandates.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr is wrong and wrong about HPV vaccines.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr is wrong about New York vaccine mandates.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s family thinks he’s wrong about vaccines.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr was wrong about Dr. Richard Pan.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr is wrong about Dr. Paul Offit.
- Anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr is wrong about vaccine safety.
Oh, and if that’s enough, anti-vaccine Robert F. Kennedy Jr genuflected to the twice-impeached Donald J Trump to head a “vaccine truth” commission. That’s disgusting enough.
OK, Facebook. Time to kick him off of the mother ship.