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Facebook, Instagram remove Robert F. Kennedy Jr. anti-vaccine group

An anti-vaccine group run by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been removed from both Instagram and Facebook for promoting medical misinformation. 

Children's Health Defense said on its website that it has been suspended on Instagram and "unpublished" on Facebook, and Meta confirmed to The New York Times the accounts were removed for "repeatedly" violating its policies against misinformation. The non-profit organization has spread false information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, including coronavirus vaccines. It says it had "hundreds of thousands of followers" on the platforms. 

Kennedy, who serves as chair of the group, accused Facebook of "acting here as a surrogate for the Federal government's crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies." Facebook, meanwhile, told the group that "we encourage free expression, but don't allow false information about COVID-19 that could contribute to physical harm." 

Kennedy has for years promoted false information about vaccines, and he was banned from Instagram in 2021 "for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines." He still, however, has an account on Facebook. According to the Times, Meta had "over a dozen discussions" over the past year about removing Children's Health Defense's accounts before taking action. 

But Karen Kornbluh, director of the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative, argued to The Associated Press that this step is "too late and too little."