Although not as much of a household name as Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook – getting deplarformed by MailChimp, a marketing email automation service with considerable reach, can be a serious blow to any brand of activism.
All the more so if MailChimp is merely following in the footsteps of those tech giants, who have all recently taken action with the goal of preventing anti-vaccination groups from disseminating and popularizing their ideas using these platform.
A spokesperson for the company told NBC that disseminating ideas doubting the wisdom of inoculation represents “a serious threat to public health and causes real-world harm.”
MailChimp also said that they put their faith in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and would not allow opposite opinions onto the service.
The decision comes after Amazon removed anti-vaccination videos and books, while YouTube pulled ads from this type of video. At the same time Facebook is refusing to run ads promoting the cause and making this type of content less visible in search and the news feed. And on Pinterest, it’s impossible to conduct a search on the topic.
And while anti-vaccine activists believe that vaccines can cause serious problems, such as autism in children, they are blamed for epidemics of preventable diseases, like measles.
However, those affected by the latest moves by big tech companies – that themselves came under pressure to act from “public health advocates and lawmakers” – them see this as an attack on their freedom.
One of the best-known activist, Larry Cook, expects to soon be blocked on MailChimp and has told his followers in a newsletter quoted by NBC News that he has preemptively moved to Sendy, a MailChimp alternative.
The report said that finding alternatives was now a common concern among anti-vaccination groups, while they consider a return to some tried-and-tested methods of activism that don’t depend on social networks.