The Disinformation Dozen: The Sequel
How Big Tech is failing to act on leading anti‑vaxxers despite bipartisan calls from Congress
Appearing before Congress in March, tech CEOs promised to act on twelve anti-vaxxers who are responsible for almost two-thirds of anti-vaccine content circulating on social media. One month on, our report shows that Big Tech has failed to act, allowing the spread of vaccine disinformation that has been viewed up to 29 million times.
Disinformation Dozen: The Sequel reveals that one month after tech CEOs vowed at a Congressional hearing to crack down on the twelve main “superspreaders” of vaccine disinformation, this “Disinformation Dozen” is continuing to operate across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. False and misleading content produced by the 12 individuals and their organisations was viewed up to 29 million times in the past month.
Big Tech’s failure to act on the Disinformation Dozen resulted in 105 pieces of vaccine disinformation being viewed up to 29 million times in the past month.
- Our previous report, The Disinformation Dozen, found that up to 65% of anti-vaccine content on social media originates from just 12 individuals, was raised with social media company CEOs at a Congressional hearing on 25 March 2021. The findings of the report were also raised with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by Senators Klobuchar and Luján, by Senator Warner and 12 state attorneys general.
- Social media platforms have not taken action on the Disinformation Dozen: ten remain on Facebook and Twitter, and nine remain on Instagram.
- In the month since publication of the Disinformation Dozen report, 105 posts from the accounts remaining on social media have breached the platforms’ stated policies for disinformation. They include posts falsely linking Covid vaccines to thousands of deaths, conspiracies claiming COVID was lab-engineered, posts describing masks on youngsters as “child abuse”, and posts suggesting that the vaccine makes women infertile.
- The Disinformation Dozen – including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Joseph Mercola, and Ty and Charlene Bollinger – have repeatedly violated Facebook, Instagram and Twitter’s policies. While some have been removed from a single platform, most remain active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- We estimate that the anti-vaccine disinformation posted by these 12 individuals and their organisations in the past month has been seen up to 29 million times.
- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter must do what they promised and remove the remaining accounts of the Disinformation Dozen, in order to stop the proliferation of life-threatening anti-vaccine disinformation.