Meta has permanently removed Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to Children’s Health Defense, the anti-vaccine group led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Meta confirmed to CNN on Friday.
The accounts each had hundreds of thousands of followers, CHD said on its website, where it posted screenshots of messages it said it received from Facebook and Instagram about the suspensions. The screenshot from Instagram shows the suspension occurred on Wednesday and that CHD has 30 days to challenge the decision.
The screenshots show CHD’s accounts were suspended for violating Meta’s policies against “misinformation that could cause physical harm.”
Aaron Simpson, a Meta spokesperson, confirmed the account removals to CNN on Friday. According to Meta, the removals are permanent, and occurred after the accounts repeatedly violated the company’s Covid-19 policies. But Facebook pages dedicated to various state chapters of CHD are still active on the platform, according to the New York Times.
In a statement on CHD’s website, Kennedy accused Meta of censorship.
“Facebook is acting here as a surrogate for the federal government’s crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies,” Kennedy said.
Amb. Karen Kornbluh, director of the German Marshall Fund’s Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative, described CHD as “the O.G. of anti-vaccine manipulation.”
“Today’s step is too late and too little,” Kornbluh said in a statement. “Platforms must address the algorithms and other design loopholes that allow their sites to be weaponized in the first place.”