GoFundMe Removes All Campaigns Connected to Anti-Vax Leader

GoFundMe Removes All Campaigns Connected to Anti-Vax Leader March 22, 2019

Larry Cook will no longer be able to raise money by creating campaigns on GoFundMe. GoFundMe will no longer allow campaigns on their platform that raise money to spread vaccine misinformation. The revelation will cripple Cook’s ability to raise money to fund his anti-vax empire.

According to the Daily Beast, GoFundMe will begin removing campaigns that promote vaccine misinformation. Spokesman Bobby Whithorne said,

“Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform.”

Whithorne went on to say that the company will do a thorough review of all campaigns and remove any that spread vaccine misinformation.

With the change, Cook loses his primary source of revenue to fund his mission to stop mandatory vaccinations. For years, Cook used the site to start campaigns to save children, stop vaccine mandates, and support his business. According to the Daily Beast, his campaigns have raised close to $80,000.00.

In the past month, Cook’s business has been crippled by changes imposed by large social media platforms. Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram announced their platforms would work to stop the spread of vaccine misinformation.

On YouTube, channels that promote vaccine misinformation or hoaxes will no longer run ads. Cook’s YouTube channel has over 46,000 subscribers and over 8 million total views. Due to his channel heavily promoting vaccine misinformation. His videos also get a disclaimer from YouTube that indicates the content is spreading vaccine misinformation.

On Facebook, Cook is no longer able to promote or boost any posts on his page that spread vaccine misinformation. Cook used the boost and advertising through his page to grow his following to over 160,000.

Since the announcement by GoFundMe, Cook has been oddly silent on the news. Generally, he shares links to his GoFundMe campaign’s multiple times per week. Now he is using his time to promote his affiliate store on Amazon to try to earn cash.

On his website, Cook removed the links to the GoFundMe campaigns. A search through his group “Stop Mandatory Vaccinations,” found several old posts referencing the campaigns. However, the links take users to a screen that says “Campaign Not Found.”

As more platforms ban Cook and other anti-vaxxers, the leaders will need to find more creative measures to earn cash. Cook now will accept credit cards and PayPal donations for his work. On his website, Cook says explicitly that donations will be used to “pay my personal bills.”

With PayPal being his last source of income, the payment platform needs to consider banning Cook from its platform. PayPal has banned other conspiracy theorists from the site like ‘InfoWars’ host Alex Jones. Amazon should also consider removing Cook’s store for their website.

As more and more money options fading for Cook, his plan to rid the world of vaccines could be foiled. Let’s hope the rest of the sites step up and get rid of Cook’s ability to earn income by spreading vaccine misinformation.

 

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • johnsoncatman

    Money donated to me may be used to pay my personal bills (99%), hire help when I shoot videos (0.1%), pay for video editing (0.1%), purchase equipment (0.1%), pay for Facebook advertising (0.1%), pay for my ongoing email list management (Mailchimp) (0.1%), pay volunteers who help me (0.0%, they are volunteers), pay for software (0.1%), pay writers (0.05%, they should pay me), pay photographers (0.05%, same), pay website hosting (0.1%), pay for volunteer online management software (0.0%, it has the word volunteer in it), pay for plugins for the website (0.1%), and any and all other expenses related directly or indirectly to my public awareness efforts (0.1%).

    Fixed it for him.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Yeah, was going to point out that the money was NOT for ‘anti-vax’ it was to line his own crooked pockets.

  • WallofSleep

    “With the change, Cook loses his primary source of revenue to fund his mission to stop mandatory vaccinations.”

    https://media.giphy.com/media/J8FZIm9VoBU6Q/giphy.gif

  • Raging Bee

    You forgot a lawyer.

  • johnsoncatman

    All I did was insert the percentages. The rest is a direct quote. I suppose lawyer falls under personal bills.

  • kenofken

    On the one hand I’m happy to see the anti-vaxx movement be set back. On the other, I see potential, no, the inevitability of massive abuse of the power of social media to “disappear” any and all posters with unpopular ideas. I also see a deep contradiction in the core assumptions which underlie modern atheism and the democracy born out of Enlightenment ideals.

    We talk a big game about “no sacred cows” and how we don’t want any church or government to tell us what to think or believe. But when we cheer the silencing of people like Cook, what we’re really saying with actions like this is that we don’t trust people to make decisions for themselves and to sort out bad information from good. We have to shield them from thoughts which are just too dangerous for them to handle. We have to be their parents. China much? It turns out we have as big a herd of sacred cows as our Christian fundamentalist enemies. It’s just that our cattle look different..

    I want to see anti-vaxx arguments fail on their own merits in the market of ideas, not because we had his stall busted up and his ware scattered. Most people have been amendable to education and evidence on the vaccination issue. For those we can’t reach, take away all of the nonsense unscientific exemptions. Banning, though it makes us feel good, is going to backfire for several reasons. It will sharpen the anti-vaxx movements conspiracy and persecution narratives and band them more tightly together. It will actually enhance their recruitment in some quarters… “the Truth is so dangerous there is nothing Big Pharma will stop at to keep it away from you.”

    The other reason social media silencing will fail is because tech is adapting. There is whole set of emerging platforms and technology infrastructure which cannot be censored because there is no central gate-keeper like FB or Twitter. They’re using decentralized servers. There are platforms like Gab and Minds which won’t even attempt to remove anything which is not actually illegal. Right-wing nutters of course are flocking there and building it out to spread racists and other loony ideas, but I suspect many others will follow. I’m not the least bit interested in anti-vaxx arguments, but I’m no longer going to use FB and other paternalistic sites which take down my content and suspend my account because I posted something with a nipple in it or said mean words to a skinhead troll…

    It’s not simply the platforms themselves that are growing beyond middle-man choke points. As Paypal and other payment processors clamp down on unpopular causes, they simply switch to Bitcoin or Ethereum. Block chain tools also facilitate decentralized web hosting, url registration etc. If the best we have to offer against the anti-vaxx movement is to try to choke off their speech and funding, what’s Plan B when we no longer have that option?

    There are literally no other supply side options at that point but to suspend the First Amendment and criminalize speech.

  • persephone

    He’s not being silenced. He’s been rejected by a private company for use of their platform. He could set up funding options on his website.

    His message is killing people. If he advocated for drunk driving, he’d be deplatformed.

    Limiting his options is what we have currently. His diehard followers will follow him wherever, but it will cut down on people getting drawn into his stupidity.

  • Carra McClelland

    Facebooks, GoFundMe, Twitter – All of these are private entities, not the government. The first amendment only protects you from the government coming for you for your speech. It does not apply to private organizations and what they will or will not allow on their platforms.

  • kenofken

    I’m well aware of the distinction. It’s certainly within the rights of private companies not to host content. But the fact that it is not a First Amendment issue does not preclude it from being a free speech issue.

    To me the issue is less about what social media companies are doing so much as the fact that a supposedly freethinking people are cheering them on. I think we’re also delusional if we think this sort of “disappearing” of disfavored content is going to A)solve any real problems and B)Ever be limited in scope to things we consider fit for censorship.

    I hope atheists, and Americans in general, rethink this problem, and I hope the tech alternatives I’ve mentioned bypass the power of social media “deplatforming” to affect public debates.