Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed suit [August 18] in federal court in California alleging that Facebook’s fact-checking program for false scientific or medical misinformation violates its constitutional rights.
Children’s Health Defense claims in its suit (PDF) that Facebook, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and the organizations Science Feedback, Poynter, and PolitiFact acted “jointly or in concert with federal government agencies” to infringe on CHD’s First and Fifth Amendment rights. The suit also alleges Facebook and the fact-checking organizations colluded to commit wire fraud by “clearing the field” of anti-vaccine ads.
Facebook has “insidious conflicts with the pharmaceutical industry and its captive health agencies,” CHD claimed in a press release. “Facebook currently censors Children’s Health Defense’s page, targeting its purge against factual information about vaccines, 5G and public health agencies.”
Kennedy, through CHD and an affiliated group called the World Mercury Project, was responsible for more than half of anti-vaccine advertisements on Facebook when they were permitted, researchers found last year. That ended in 2019 amid a measles outbreak, when Facebook updated its policies following pressure from the Centers for Disease Control and lawmakers.
Ads touting false claims about vaccines were banned, and pages and groups that promote vaccine misinformation or hoaxes have their content deprecated in search and recommendations
Essentially, the 115-page complaint argues that Facebook’s actions amount to censorship and defamation because CHD doesn’t like having its content called out as misinformation.