Facebook-owner Meta said Thursday it had kicked one of the most influential US anti-vaccination groups off the social media network for spreading Covid-19 misinformation. The Children's Health Defense (CHD), which has been a critic of Covid vaccines, immediately accused Meta of stifling its free speech rights. "Facebook is acting here as a surrogate for the federal government's crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies," CHD founder Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of late president John F. Kennedy, said in a press release.
Meta spokesperson Aaron Simpson told AFP that the group's accounts at Facebook and Instagram were shuttered on Wednesday. The ban came after repeated violations of Meta's misinformation rules.
CHD said its social media accounts were followed by hundreds of thousands of people, and claimed the action by Meta came as a surprise.
In a release, the group shared a screen capture showing messages stating the accounts were suspended for violating Meta policies regarding "misinformation that could lead to real world harm."
CHD contended that the ban could be related to a lawsuit it filed against Meta accusing the tech giant of infringing free speech rights by relying on US Centers for Disease Control regarding what Covid-19 information is scientifically backed.
The anti-vaccine group has appealed a lower court ruling against it in the litigation, according to legal filings.
In other news, US teens have left Facebook in droves over the past seven years, preferring to spend time at video-sharing venues YouTube and TikTok, according to a Pew Research Center survey data out Wednesday. TikTok has “emerged as a top social media platform for US teens” while Google-run
YouTube “stands out as the most common platform used by teens,” the report's authors wrote.Pew's data comes as Facebook-owner Meta is in a battle with TikTok for social media primacy, trying to keep the maximum number of users as part of its multi-billion-dollar ad-driven business.
The report said some 95 percent of the teens surveyed said they use YouTube, compared with 67 percent saying they are TikTok users.Just 32 percent of teens surveyed said they log on to Facebook -- a big drop from the 71 percent who reported being users during a similar survey some seven years ago
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