King of the Facebook anti-vaccine Movement, Larry Cook, is unraveling on social media after his group “Stop Mandatory Vaccinations” was reported multiple times for violations. Facebook told Cook that his group is in danger of being deleted due to the content shared within the group earlier this week.
A few days ago, WOACB reported that Facebook is preparing to shut down the Facebook Group “Stop Mandatory Vaccinations.” Group founder Larry Cook announced the imminent deletion with his group on Monday. In a long post, Cook explained that there had been multiple community guidelines violations within the group. As a result, Facebook said any additional violations would lead to the group’s deletion.
In a panic, Cook urged people to join his MeWe backup group and a new Facebook group called “The Vaccine Free Child.” Late last night, Cook shared an email he received from Facebook related to the issues.
According to Cook, he’s been working tirelessly to appeal the decisions by Facebook. Since Facebook rolled out their new policies, the group received 67 flags for fake news. Earlier this spring, Facebook announced that groups that routinely share fake news would be removed from search features and reduced in the distributions to user’s News Feed. As a result of the violations, fewer people in the group see new content in their feeds.
After days of back and forth, Cook lamented that Facebook is refusing to hear his side of the story. Instead, he blames a faulty system by Facebook for “false flagging” content within is the group. He said the platform automatically flags content believed to be false news even if the story is accurate. Larry Cook thinks that the”false flagging” is the reason the group’s deletion is coming.
To prove his point, Cook shared a screenshot of an email from a Facebook representative. The representative explained to Larry that individuals could not appeal policies developed by Facebook.
Cook hoped to appeal to multiple community guideline violations. However, Facebook told him that the post creator would need to appeal the decision. Additionally, the rep stated that the member that shared the post is an active member of the group, and therefore, their actions influence the group directly.
Facebook suggested that Cook add additional moderators and admins to approve posts to ensure the group does not share stories that violate the policies. The representative encouraged Cook to take their advice and turn on post-approval within the group.
Larry Cook wrote at the bottom of the email from Facebook that the company is not using common sense. Earlier in the week, Cook stated there is no way to add more administrators to approve the nearly 400 posts that are uploaded to the group each day.
After sharing the email with the group, many people offered to help him moderate the new posts. WOACB found dozens of people volunteering to ensure the group can remain active. However, Cook declined their offers. Cook insists the real issue is not the posts but the “false flags” that Facebook automatically marks certain content. He stated, “this is not a moderator issue.”
What Cook fails to tell the group is that even with new moderators, nearly all the posts shared within the group is a violation of Facebook guidelines. The group exists to promote the idea that vaccines are dangerous, ineffective, cause autism, and result in death.
However, science has proven for decades that vaccines are safe, effective, and pose minimal risk to individuals. Additionally, more than 100 studies have shown that vaccines do not cause autism.
The truth is Cook knows that his group cannot meet the guidelines set by Facebook. Instead of admitting he is running a fraudulent group, he deflects and blames Facebook for their poorly constructed policies.
The policies developed by Facebook were the result of a public outcry that the platform stops spreading misinformation related to vaccines. After speaking with individuals in health care, the government, and the private sector, Facebook set up the new policies this spring.
With the group at risk of deletion, Facebook’s new policies appear to be working. The group shut down is likely to happen shortly.
This is a developing story.
*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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