A massive Facebook group dedicated to spreading fear and misinformation related to vaccines is on the verge of being shut down. Stop Mandatory Vaccination administrator Larry Cook announced to the 167,00 group members that the group has violated dozens of community guidelines, and Facebook has had enough.
According to a post uploaded by Larry Cook, his group “Stop Mandatory Vaccinations” is about to be shut down. Cook shared a screenshot from Facebook alerting him of the violations of the group. In Spring 2019, Facebook announced changes to its community guidelines related to groups and pages that spread vaccine misinformation.
Facebook said that groups that continually shared false or misleading information related to vaccines could be shut down. Additionally, Facebook tasked group administrators with monitoring the content shared in the group.
Apparently, Larry Cook’s time as the reigning king of anti-vaccine propaganda may be coming to an end. According to Cook, the group has violated three community standards and has shared 67 False news stories.
In the update to the group, Cook wrote,
“The group now has 3 strikes against it and there is no appeal process and no way to even review posts that violate Facebook’s terms. I have been going back and forth with a Facebook employee and she has stated I cannot appeal any violations, and additionally, the 3 violations now put the Group into an imminent threat of being “disabled” – shut down. Facebook uses a wily nilly way of auto flagging posts based on user submissions with zero manual review and no way for an appeal, so this means that in all likelihood, a couple more violations – which could be another baby photo for all we know – will shut down this group.”
Cook told group members he attempted to appeal the decision by Facebook. However, Facebook responded by letting him know there is no appeal process for the rule. Additionally, the issue started after Facebook says Cook approved a post that violated their Community Guidelines. With two other strikes against the group, Cook says the group shut down is imminent.
The move to shut down the largest anti-vaccine group on Facebook is a signal that their new protocol is working. The group continually shares posts that state vaccines contain poison and cause autism. WOACB entered the group to find posts that violated Facebook Community Guidelines, and the first two posts on the page met the criteria.
One post shared an article that stated vaccines contain poison. The second post was of a video of a girl with autism biting on her hands. In the video, the caption read, “I’d rather my child have autism than the measles.” The poster warned people that there are consequences to vaccinating their children.
Larry Cook urged members to join his backup MeWe group. Additionally, he encouraged people to opt-in to his email list to continue to help him spread his misinformation. The past six months have not been good for the Stop Mandatory Vaccinations founder. In the spring, YouTube demonetized his channel for sharing vaccine misinformation. Additionally, GoFundMe shut down his numerous campaigns to raise money to stop vaccinations.
With the group about to shut down, Cook reflected on his time adminning the group. He called the group one of his most significant accomplishments in his life.
“I think this group is one of my greatest achievements, actually, because parents from all over the world have been able to ask their questions about vaccines (and lots of other stuff too) and get answers they are seeking, and I did work really hard to make this group a success. Not that it hasn’t had its challenges, of course. I also want to thank my entire Moderator Team – they have been stellar! I could not have done it without them!”
Cook’s group has routinely shared misinformation that scares parents into not vaccinating their children. He consistently shares posts that falsely link infant deaths to vaccines. Despite his claims that he’s helping parents, Cook is one of the largest voices on Facebook, convincing parents not vaccinate their children. His advice puts children, adults, and the immunocompromised of contracting deadly diseases.
For now, the reigning king of vaccine misinformation on Facebook may need to find a new home. As soon as the group is gone, WOACB will make sure to update this post.
Read Cook’s full statement:
*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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