The non-profit announced in a news release that it had been “deplatformed” without warning from Facebook and Instagram.
Children’s Health Defense (CHD) is a non-profit activist group chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The group is known for skepticism about vaccinations and other health issues.
In the news release, CHD included screenshots of the notifications from Facebook and Instagram, which stated that the group had violated community standards.
The notification from Facebook stated that the ban was due to information the group shared about COVID-19. Instagram’s notification did not provide details.
“We encourage free expressions, but don’t allow false information about COVID-19 that could contribute to physical harm,” says Facebook’s notification.
CHD had previously posted articles questioning the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and critiquing the CDC’s handling of the pandemic.
CHD replied in a press release, “Within hours of the CHD being de-platformed, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky outlined plans for overhauling how the agency works while admitting the agency’s response to COVID-19 was flawed and the agency committed a number of missteps in its management of the pandemic.”
CHD sued Facebook in 2020, accusing the social-media site of biased fact-checking. A judge ruled in Facebook’s favor, but CHD has since appealed the ruling.
Why it’s news
Scion of the late U.S. attorney general, senator, and presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has long been a controversial figure, fighting vaccines and supporting conspiracy theories.
Determining what disinformation is and deciding how to handle it has been a hot topic in the U.S. for several years. In addition to growing disinformation online, opposing political sides have used the label as a weapon against opponents.
Disinformation created great strife during the last two presidential elections, as made-up reports about candidates and topics disseminated from many social media outlets.
According to a recent Poynter Institute for Media Studies survey, 62% of survey respondents say that they see disinformation weekly.
Of course, there is no easy solution. The occasional flow of disinformation among a vibrant and uncensored national conversation is a byproduct of a society that so values free speech. Even worse than disinformation, scholars argue, would be trying to decide and monitor what is true and not true.