A large public Anti-Vaccine group on Facebook was shut down yesterday for violating the platform’s community standards. “Vaccine Resistance Movement” (VRM) housed nearly 37,000 people in a public group. The group consistently shared misleading and false information about vaccinations. The move by Facebook may indicate other groups connected to the anti-vax movement may be at risk of closing.
Last night a screenshot went viral on Facebook, the image shared response by Facebook to a report of harassment by the group’s admin Joel Lord.
“Thanks for your report – you did the right thing by letting us know about this. Since the group where the post appeared goes against our Community Standard, we removed both the group and all of its posts, including the one you reported.”
For years, the group has been a public mainstay on Facebook. “Vaccine Resistance Movement: VRM Updates & News From the Trenches” publically discussed vaccines with more than 37,000 members. For years, the group spread misleading and false information about vaccines around Facebook.
Admin Joel Lord facilitated and monitored the group. According to Lord’s profile, he is the founder of the vaccine resistance movement. Lord’s Facebook profile remains along with his hundreds of false and misleading posts about vaccines. On May 3, 2019, Joel wrote, “Measles is self-limiting, provides lifelong immunity and starves off cancer.”
Despite his claims, no scientific evidence proves contracting the measles prevents people from developing cancer later in life.
Another post by Lord on May 2, 2019, minimized the severity of the measles and promoted a government conspiracy surrounding vaccines. He encouraged joining his group at the end of the essay about vaccines.
“The Vaccine lobby is desperately trying to socially engineer families into believing their lies. Their aim is to shift the focus away from science, vaccine injury and autism to an overblown self-limiting measles epidemic. Propaganda and media manipulation has replaced scientific analysis. Remember this, the anti-vaccine pro-holistic health movement is massive. We are on the rise and we are well connected around the world.
We have thousands of good doctors, including veteran pediatricians, cancer specialists, chiropractors, naturopaths, medical researchers and a legion of front-line nurses who do not subscribe to vaccination, who openly encourage patients to think twice before vaccinating.
The point is we are not facing defeat, nor are we isolated, and we are not at risk of being overtaken by corrupt government mandates. Those that have been enforced to date will be overturned through class-action lawsuits and the force majeure of countless community voices. Vaccine Resistance Movement.”
Lord’s Facebook profile says that more than 5,000 people follow him. Additionally, he uses his profile to promote his groups and pages. Lord has other groups and pages that Facebook has not removed from their platform.Other Facebook groups appear to be nervous about VRM’s removal. Larry Cook of “Stop Mandatory Vaccination” reminded his group to join a back-up group hosted on MeWe.
After a quick scan of Cook’s group, we located dozens of shares by him that promote inaccurate and misleading information regarding vaccines. Last month Facebook announced they would remove groups that continually violate their community standards. Either people are not reporting the group, or Facebook is complicit by allowing the group with 163,000 people to remain.
Interestingly, after we reported that Stop Mandatory Vaccination shared multiple posts attempting to organize a civil war, the posts have been removed. Either Cook is trying to clean up the group, or Facebook removed the posts.
The removal of VRM by Facebook that the platform is serious about ending the spread of vaccine misinformation online. With pressure on administrators to stop sharing fake news, many group administrators may be at risk of losing their groups and profiles.
Last week Facebook announced the ban of multiple alt-right and conspiracy theorists for spreading hateful and violent content. Joel Lord and Larry Cook’s time may be up as Facebook darlings in the anti-vaccine world.
If you want to report Stop Mandatory Vaccination for violating Community Standards, please click here.
Finally, report the Stop Mandatory Vaccination Facebook Page.
One by one, we can work to remove these groups from Facebook. Please help today!
*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.
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