Instagram bans Pete Evans for spreading misinformation

Instagram bans Pete Evans for spreading misinformation


Former celebrity TV chef Pete Evans’ Instagram account has been shut down for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about COVID-19 and vaccines.

Mr Evans had about 280,000 followers on the social media image-sharing platform where he also shared misinformation about potential COVID-19 cures and vaccines. Several of Mr Evans’ posts were taken down for violating the platform’s misinformation and harm policy before his account was removed on Wednesday.

Pete Evans and MP Craig Kelly have both been removed from Facebook for posting unproven coronavirus cures

On a podcast hosted by Mr Evans earlier this month, Coalition MP Craig Kelly said Australians have died because they have been denied access to potentially life-saving medical treatments by “big government”.

In December, Mr Evans’ Facebook page was deleted because his posts violated the company’s misinformation policies. Instagram is owned by Facebook.

Mr Evans promoted a “BioCharger” on a Facebook live stream, claiming it could be used in relation to “Wuhan Coronavirus” and was fined $25,200 in April by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, who said his claim had “no apparent foundation”.

Last week Mr Evans announced he will run for Federal Parliament as a Senate candidate for the Great Australian Party, a fringe group set up by former One Nation senator Rod Culleton.

A Facebook company spokesman said they removed Mr Evans’ Instagram account, “for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines”.

“We don’t allow anyone to share misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts,” a Facebook company spokesman said.

Mr Evans has been approached for comment.

The company updated its COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation policy last week, cracking down across both Facebook and Instagram on content that violated new rules.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly has been pushing outright lies on social media at a time when the government wants full support for an effort to vaccinate almost everyone.Credit:Facebook

Mr Kelly was suspended from Facebook on Tuesday, for at least a week, for promoting unproven COVID-19 treatments such as hydroxychloroquine.

Mr Kelly had about 80,000 people who ‘like’ his page where he posts controversial information about climate change and coronavirus. Facebook found five of his posts broke the social media website’s new rules.

Facebook’s new list of false claims it hopes to remove, includes content that claims COVID-19 is man-made, vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism or that it’s safer to get the disease than the vaccine.

Facebook expanded the list after consulting with experts, including at the World Health Organisation.

More than a million pieces of misinformation about COVID-19 that may lead to imminent physical harm, such as fake preventative measures or exaggerated cures were removed from Facebook and Instagram in the last three months of 2020.

Over the same period, 8.6 million Facebook posts related to terrorism and 6.4 million Facebook posts related to organised hate groups were taken off the platform.

Facebook has pledged $120 million in ad credits to help health ministries and other agencies spread COVID-19 vaccine and preventive health information.

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