Facebook has censored Australian lawmaker Craig Kelly by removing one of his posts addressing the consequences of the use of face masks by children.
Kelly, who comes from the country’s ruling party, has previously been denounced by the opposition, who wrote to a local Facebook exec asking that the MP be monitored and if need be censored on the giant social network.
Facebook has recently ramped up policing of its platform for Covid-related information, and now Kelly’s claim contained in the removed post – that forcing children to wear cloths over their faces was tantamount to child abuse – has been declared as “harmful misinformation.”
Kelly recently hinted he may not wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine – to then issue a statement backing government vaccination plans, after PM Scott Morrison intervened in a private conversation. He in the past promoted the use of the drug hydroxyzine, which critics say has no beneficial effect on Covid patients, while others claim the opposite.
Still, it’s a long way from “no effect” to “causing harm” – which is the pretext under which many social media users, including medical professionals, have been silenced from even discussing this and similar proposed treatments.
Facebook’s director of public policy in Australia, Mia Garlick, is now quoted as saying that the post about children wearing masks violated its “misinformation and harm policy” – but that other posts by Kelly, that the shadow health minister, Mark Butler, “nominated” for deletion in a letter sent to Facebook previously could stay up because they are in line with its terms of service.
According to local media, Kelly’s post that eventually got removed read as follows: “Forcing children to wear masks is causing massive physical and psychological harm that can only be defined as child abuse.”
Kelly’s mask skepticism, stemming from his belief that there is no scientific consensus on their efficacy, announced in January Facebook had threatened to place restrictions on his page with some 80,000 followers unless he removed posts citing Professor Tom Brody’s comment about the use of the drug Ivermectin in Covid treatment.
Kelly eventually did this to keep his page online, but criticized social media for their purges of information they don’t like.
“The accusations against me that I’ve been publishing misinformation are misinformation themselves,” the Australian MP said on one occasion.