Controversial celebrity chef and conspiracy theorist Pete Evans has been permanently booted off Instagram for sharing misinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines.
Facebook confirmed on Wednesday it had deleted Evans’ account on the popular picture-sharing platform. The account had hundreds of thousands of followers.
“We removed Pete Evans’ account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” the company said in a statement.
“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.”
Evans’ Facebook page was removed in December but he continued to share misinformation through Instagram which is also owned by Facebook.
Facebook had earlier removed several of the chef’s Instagram posts for violating its policies on misinformation.
The company’s coronavirus and vaccine misinformation policies were updated last week with the social media giant vowing to crack down on false claims.
Facebook expanded on Wednesday the list of false claims it has promised to remove – adding several more about coronavirus and the vaccines.
False claims that the company says won’t be tolerated include that Covid-19 is man-made, that it’s safer to get the disease than the vaccine, and that vaccines are toxic, dangerous or cause autism.
Facebook consulted with health groups like the World Health Organization before expanding the list.
Evans announced last week he would run for federal parliament standing as a Senate candidate for a fringe party set up by former One Nation senator Rod Culleton.
Evans was a judge on My Kitchen Rules between 2010 and 2020.
In November, Evans was fired by Channel Ten on the day he was due to start filming I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! after his publisher and multiple brands abandoned him for posting a cartoon that included a neo-Nazi symbol on his social media accounts.
Evans subsequently apologised to people who “misinterpreted” the cartoon.
He has repeatedly made posts opposing Covid-19 vaccines and masks, shared discredited coronavirus cures, and claimed in a podcast that the coronavirus was a hoax.
Evans regularly used his Instagram account to cast doubt on official information about Covid-19, vaccines, and other parts of mainstream science.
His company was fined more than $25,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in April after he promoted a device called a “BioCharger” on a Facebook live stream, claiming it could be used in relation to the coronavirus. The TGA said the claim had “no apparent foundation”.
Evans also came under fire in 2020 for promoting the coronavirus views of David Icke, the British conspiracy theorist previously accused of Holocaust denial and barred from entering Australia.