Facebook blocks Australian MP for virus misinformation

By: AFP      Published: 04:26 PM, 26 Apr, 2021
Facebook blocks Australian MP for virus misinformation

Facebook removed Australian member of parliament Craig Kelly's page for repeatedly peddling pandemic misinformation, the social media giant said Monday.

Kelly previously had posts blocked on the platform and was forced to quit the governing Liberal Party, amid controversial statements on vaccine safety, lockdowns and unproven Covid treatments.

Facebook said it removed his popular page permanently after "repeated violations" of its policies. "We don't allow anyone, including elected officials, to share misinformation about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or Covid-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts," a spokesperson said in a statement.

Kelly's Facebook account -- in which he also frequently played down climate change -- drew around six million video views and five million interactions in 2020, according to data tool CrowdTangle.

Kelly told public broadcaster ABC the tech giant's decision amounted to "censorship". "The idea that they are some purveyors of all truth is just absolutely outrageous," he said.

Before being taken down, Kelly's page bore warnings about potential Covid-19 misinformation. Several posts had also been removed. In February, Kelly quit the conservative government after being rebuked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his public statements and after a failure to sack an aide facing multiple allegations of inappropriate touching.

Kelly is currently an independent member of parliament.

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