Fb has confirmed it has eliminated a publish from the outspoken Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly claiming that youngsters carrying masks was akin to baby abuse after a criticism from Labor.
In correspondence seen by Guardian Australia, Mia Garlick, Fb’s Australian director of public coverage, confirmed the platform eliminated one of many controversial MP’s posts “which made claims concerning the impression on youngsters of carrying masks” as a result of it violated Fb’s “misinformation and hurt coverage”.
The shadow well being minister, Mark Butler, wrote to Facebook in the course of the opening parliamentary sitting week urging the social media platform to proceed to watch Kelly’s web page for dangerous content material and demanding “applicable motion to guard public well being”.
Kelly has championed the use of hydroxychloroquine to deal with Covid regardless of the most reputable global studies discovering it was ineffective as a remedy, and will have severe and even deadly side-effects if used inappropriately.
The MP performed his public advocacy of unproven therapies each within the mainstream media and on Fb, the place he has a considerable following, without restraint or rebuke by senior government figures, till the resultant controversy escalated final week.
Scott Morrison then publicly distanced himself from Kelly, telling parliament the backbencher’s advocacy for unproven Covid therapies didn’t “align with my views, or the views and the recommendation that has been supplied to me by the chief medical officer”.
On the day Morrison lastly distanced himself from Kelly after the MP moved from championing unproven therapies to signalling that he might not get the Covid vaccine – and in addition confronted the Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek in entrance of tv cameras – Butler wrote to Fb’s Australian managing director asking the platform to train editorial duty.
Butler nominated a number of posts he thought Fb ought to take away, however the platform has solely taken down the publish referring to youngsters and mask-wearing in the course of the pandemic.
Garlick mentioned different posts Butler had nominated didn’t violate the platform’s misinformation or hurt insurance policies.
In January, Kelly accused social media firms of trying to “purge” feedback about unproven Covid-19 therapies after he received a warning from Facebook about his claims relating to the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.
Kelly mentioned he had “obtained a name from a consultant of Fb ‘requesting’ that I take away a publish that contained feedback … made by Australia’s Prof Tom Borody commenting about Ivermectin as a remedy [for] Covid – in any other case my Fb would have ‘restrictions’ positioned upon it”.
He mentioned he had eliminated the publish “underneath protest” and declared the world had “entered a really darkish time in human historical past when scientific debate and freedom of speech is being suppressed”.
Garlick mentioned in her response to Butler’s criticism that the platform had “taken motion in relation to plenty of posts by Australian politicians and public figures”.
She added: “I additionally wish to guarantee you that Fb continues to watch the unfold of Covid-related misinformation in Australia, and we’re dedicated to persevering with to take an aggressive strategy in response.”
Butler advised Guardian Australia he was “glad” to see Fb taking motion after his criticism “eradicating considered one of Craig Kelly’s ludicrous posts – claiming youngsters carrying masks was akin to baby abuse”.
“Craig Kelly’s views are harmful and an actual menace to the general public well being message the Australian authorities is attempting to attain,” Butler mentioned.
The Labor frontbencher mentioned Kelly was persevering with to publish “harmful misinformation” regardless of the rebuke from Morrison.
“The Australian authorities is presently spending $24m on an promoting marketing campaign for the vaccine rollout and Craig Kelly’s Fb posts are getting 4 occasions extra engagement than the Australian Division of Well being,” Butler mentioned.
“When will the prime minister put an finish to Craig Kelly’s harmful misinformation marketing campaign?”