For several months, the issue around vaccines against the coronavirus has been at the heart of the news around the world. Thus, many celebrities do not hesitate to use their notoriety and their platforms to send messages and encourage their subscribers to get vaccinated. This is not the case of Robert F. Kennedy Jr, son of the former Minister of Justice Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in 1968 after his brother, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in 1963. Lawyer and environmentalist, he won in popularity in recent months following his anti-vaccine messages published on his social networks. Indeed, on several occasions, he spoke on the subject and had declared in September 2020 that a “flu vaccine was more deadly than Covid-19”. Information that had been relayed by multiple accounts and denounced as erroneous by the verification services of social networks. Subsequently, in January 2021, he did not hesitate to indicate on Instagram and Facebook that Hank Aaron, the baseball legend who died at the age of 86 in his sleep, would have died following an injection of the Moderna vaccine. Publications highlighted by Internet users and which did not go unnoticed.
Since the start of the pandemic, Facebook has been accused of failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of false rumors or allegations regarding Covid-19. Thus, last December, the platform announced that it was withdrawing advertisements indicating that getting vaccinated was the solution or that vaccines were dangerous. It is therefore logical that after seeing the many messages posted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, the company decided to close his Instagram account. “We deleted this account for having repeatedly shared false allegations about the coronavirus or vaccines,” we read in a statement published by Facebook, the parent company of Instagram on February 12. An initiative which aims to let users of the social network know that any disinformation or rumor mentioning Covid-19 or vaccines, will be punished subsequently. However, Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s Facebook is still active and it seems that the closure of his Instagram account did not prevent him from speaking again on the subject.
Celebrities taking a stand
Robert F. Kennedy Jr is not the only one to have given his opinion on vaccination. On December 27, it was Anwar Hadid, Dua Lipa’s boyfriend, who was at the heart of a controversy. He had opened a question and answer section in his Instagram story. While he was answering various questions, one of them concerned the anti-Covid-19 vaccine. “Are you going to get the vaccine?” a user asked, to which Gigi Hadid’s brother replied: “absolutely not”. A response that quickly alerted Internet users and he apologized two days later.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr © Zuma Press