The Ohio teen who drew national attention with his rebellion against his anti-vaccine mother, testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the dangers of misinformation on the internet. (March 5)
GoFundMe is one of the latest online platforms to cut off proponents of anti-vaccine related content.
The online fundraising service said on Friday that any campaigns created on the website that promote “misinformation” about vaccines automatically get shut down for violating its terms of service.
“Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform,” GoFundMe said in an email to USA TODAY.
The company’s policies state that “products that make health claims that have not been approved or verified” by regulatory agencies are prohibited.
It’s unclear how much money has been raised from anti-vaccination campaigns on GoFundMe. However, USA TODAY searched the platform and found one active anti-vax campaign that aimed to raise $80,000.
It was created two months ago and had yet to raise any money.
According to an archived page, an anti-vaccination activist, Larry Cook, attempted to raise $100,000 using the platform. He succeeded at gathering a total of $56,636 from almost 1,000 donors.
“All donations to me go directly to me and into my bank account, and from there I and I alone decide how to use the funds,” Cook writes on his website.
The crackdown on anti-vaccination content comes as other online platforms like Facebook and Instagram have begun to remove channels and posts from their websites that try to discredit vaccinations.
In February, Pinterest blocked anti-vaccination-related searches from the photo-sharing platform. Shortly after, YouTube announced that it would be dropping anti-vaccine channels’ ability to earn from advertisements. Amazon followed suit by removing anti-vaccine documentaries from its Prime video service.
Facebook announced earlier this month that it would take action to downgrade the ranking of anti-vaccination pages and groups. On Instagram, “We won’t show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on Instagram Explore or hashtag pages,” Facebook said in a blog post.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 268 cases of measles reported in the U.S. so far in 2019, compared with a preliminary count of 372 for the year 2018 through Dec. 29. In 2010, 63 cases were reported.
Measles cases occur due to “U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people,” according to the CDC website.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown
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