The report accuses
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Ty and Charlene Bollinger
Watchdog groups call them the “Disinformation Dozen.”
By Anagha Srikanth | March 24, 2021
- A new report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Vax Watch found that most of the anti-vaccine content circulating online can be tied to 12 people.
- The list includes prominent people who oppose vaccines, such as Robert F. Kennedy, whose Instagram account was permanently removed earlier this year.
The report accuses Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — who was banned from Instagram last month — Joseph Mercola, Ty and Charlene Bollinger — whose Twitter accounts were briefly suspended at the beginning of the pandemic — Sherri Tenpenny, Rizza Islam, Rashid Buttar, Erin Elizabeth, Sayer Ji, Kelly Brogan, Christiane Northrup, Ben Tapper and Kevin Jenkins of spreading disinformation and claims that their social media accounts “have repeatedly violated Facebook and Twitter’s terms of service agreements.” And the CCDH has receipts — the report is full of screenshots of “example violations” that range from misleading to antisemitic.
Several of these users have responded online, calling the report a “hitlist” and accusing the CCDH of trying to “control us with tricks & lies.”
But the CCDH said the responses were only proof that their “campaign to get anti-vaccine propagandists off social media is working.” The timing of the report also coincides with a joint hearing in Congress that will put Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg back in the hot seat over the spread of misinformation on their platforms, this time for its role in the insurrection on the United States Capitol in January.
A spokesperson for Twitter noted that the platform has removed over 20,000 posts from the platform and challenged nearly 12 million accounts under its coronavirus misinformation policy.
“We will not take action on every instance of misinformation. In order for content related to COVID-19 to be labeled or removed under this policy, it must: advance a claim of fact, expressed in definitive terms; be demonstrably false or misleading, based on widely available, authoritative sources; and be likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm,” they explained.
Facebook spokesperson Kevin McAlister told The Hill that the platform has “already taken action against some of the groups in this report.”
“Since research shows that the best way to combat vaccine hesitancy is to connect people to reliable information from health experts, we’ve also connected over 2 billion people to resources from health authorities, including through our COVID-19 Information Center,” he added.