Facebook banned an account that spread Bill Gates conspiracy theories relating to his involvement in COVID-19 vaccines
On Thursday, Facebook banned the account of one of the biggest spreaders of anti-vax content, VICE News reports.
Erin Elizabeth, who owned the account, capitalized from spreading disinformation about the role of Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. She also discussed the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment.
Last month, Elizabeth was named as one of the “disinformation dozen” in a report published by the Center for Countering Digitial Hate (CCDH). Her Health Nut News website, is a prominent “alternative health” website, with an affiliated newsletter and social media accounts.
The CCDH report detailed content posted or shared on social media by a small group of persistent anti-vaxxers, who were responsible for spreading disinformation. It also suggested ways in which platforms can fix it by enforcing their standards.
The CCDH’s research discovered that those twelve individuals are responsible for sharing 65% of all anti-vax material on Facebook.
In February, Facebook updated its policies on what it counts as vaccine misinformation. It removed the Instagram account of prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr, along with others.
The CCDH’s Imran Ahmed told Insider at the time that the removal didn’t go far enough.
“Facebook must now remove all accounts linked to Kennedy […] as well as those of the other superspreaders of dangerous anti-vaccine misinformation,” said Ahmed.
He added: “One in every 30 followers of anti-vaxx accounts across social media are following RFK Jr and his organisations, so his comprehensive deplatforming would represent a significant victory in the fight against harmful misinformation.”
Following her account takedown this week, Elizabeth wrote in a tweet: “ALL my Facebook pages and groups and even my personal page totaling millions. All my Instagram pages including my public page. No violations. Everything gone.”
“Even my aunt who is my assistant. They took her page!!!!!!!” she added on Twitter.
The social media firm did not respond to VICE News’s request for comment about the ban of Elizabeth’s account but an unauthorized source at the company told the media outlet that the accounts were not banned because of the misinformation being shared.
The accounts were debarred due to the “spammy and inauthentic behavior they relied on to build their audience. They misled people about the popularity of their posts and used fake accounts to spam people and evade our enforcement,” the source said.