Instagram has removed the account of celebrity chef Pete Evans for “repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.”
Evans had over 277,000 followers on the platform and has been critical of coronavirus mask mandates, lockdowns, and placing restrictions on people who don't get the coronavirus vaccine.
According to Evans, his account was deleted after he reposted a Project Veritas story which featured a leaked video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating during an internal Facebook meeting: “I urge some caution on this because we just don't the long-term side effects of basically modifying people's DNA and RNA.”
In its story, Project Veritas head James O'Keefe pointed out the irony that Zuckerberg's private statements on the coronavirus vaccine wouldn't be allowed under Facebook's current COVID-19 policies which prohibit “claims that the COVID-19 vaccine changes people's DNA.”
“Zuckerberg would be banned from Facebook for saying this,” O'Keefe said. “In fact, me showing the CEO of Facebook talking might be banned because he is violating Facebook's policies. Seems a little bit hypocritical, don't you think?”
In a statement confirming it had deleted Evans' Instagram account, Facebook said:
“We removed Pete Evans' account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines. We don't allow anyone to share misinformation about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or about Covid-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.”
The removal of Evans' Instagram account follows Facebook deleting his page last December for violating its coronavirus misinformation policies.
Last week, Facebook introduced new far-reaching coronavirus misinformation rules that prohibit any posts claiming that vaccines are ineffective or that “COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured” after consulting with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The rules have proved controversial as they would seemingly prohibit newsworthy stories about the coronavirus vaccine being less effective against certain strains of the virus or claims about the infamous lab in Wuhan, China which some politicians have suggested could have been the source of the coronavirus outbreak.
The deletion of Evans' Instagram account follows Facebook removing several of Australian lawmaker Craig Kelly's posts about masks last week after complaints from the opposition party. Facebook subsequently banned Kelly from posting for a week and accused him of spreading COVID-19 misinformation.