GoFundMe Bars Anti-Vaxxers From Its Platform
The crowd-funding source is working to stop the spread of misinformation about vaccines online.
GoFundMe is banning anti-vaxxers from raising money on its platform, the Daily Beast reported.
"Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform," GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne stated. "The company is conducting a thorough review and will remove any anti-vaccination campaigns currently on the platform."
The platform's terms of service prohibit "products that make health claims that have not been verified" by regulatory committees. Similarly, fundraising is forbidden on campaigns that are "fraudulent, misleading, inaccurate, dishonest, or impossible."
GoFundMe has so far removed 10 campaigns.
The company's crackdown on the anti-vaccine movement comes after a recent influx of major measles outbreaks across the world. Growing communities with high rates of unvaccinated citizens have resulted in disease outbreaks in New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Canada, and the United States in the past three months.
While the decision by GoFundMe has mostly been applauded, some have raised concerns over free speech violations. Certain anti-vaxxers are claiming the decision infringes on their first amendment rights.
With #publichealth on the line and with social media serving as a leading source of information for the American people, tech leaders need to do their part to ensure that users have access to scientifically valid information on #vaccinations. https://t.co/zgaIXkUQU9pic.twitter.com/Tfxbp8zkQY— AMA (@AmerMedicalAssn) March 13, 2019
Earlier this month, CEO of the American Medical Association James Madara sent an open letter to the heads of six key social media and technology companies urging them to remove all anti-vaccination messages from their platforms.
"We are concerned that the proliferation of this type of health-related misinformation will undermine sound science, further decrease vaccinations, and persuade people to make medical decisions that could spark the spread of easily preventable diseases," the letter read. "With public health on the line, we urge you to do your part to ensure that users have access to scientifically valid information on vaccinations, so they can make informed decisions about their families’ health."
Beyond GoFundMe, other tech platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon have heeded Madara’s call.