Instagram reportedly bans Robert F Kennedy Jr for anti-vaccine views

Nicole Silverio, DCNF

Instagram banned Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from the platform Wednesday for criticizing the COVID-19 vaccine, according to The Hill.

Kennedy, a vocal vaccine critic, had 800,000 Instagram followers before the account’s removal. He repeatedly posted his opinions on vaccinations, according to The Hill.

Instagram removed the account after Kennedy questioned Bill Gates for his support of vaccinations, according to Fox Business.

“We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement. Facebook, which owns Instagram, and Twitter had not removed Kennedy as of Thursday, reported The Hill.

Kennedy has advocated for states to exempt parents from vaccinating their children and has linked vaccines to several deaths and called it a cause of autism, according to CNN. The Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit organization, named Kennedy as one of the most significant figures to spread misinformation regarding COVID-19.

Kennedy is the chair of the Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit concerned with the effects of vaccinations. The organization had funded more than half of Facebook’s anti-vaccine advertisements, according to The New York Times.

He reportedly blamed baseball star Hank Aaron’s death on the COVID-19 vaccine which he received in Atlanta on Jan 5, according to The New York Times.

The Children’s Health Defense told CNN that they could not comment on Instagram’s decision.

Facebook has increased efforts to remove anti-vaccination posts saying on Monday that pages and accounts are “subject to removal,” The Hill reported. They will additionally make it difficult to search accounts on Instagram that discourage people from getting vaccinated, according to CNN.

Members of his family have criticized Kennedy for his vaccine misinformation. Two of his siblings and his niece wrote in a column for Politico that he was spreading “dangerous misinformation.”

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