The Facebook page of Australian politician Craig Kelly has been removed following “repeated” violations of the social media giant’s COVID-19 misinformation policy.
The federal MP for Hughes had his page removed in its entirety after the site had previously removed several individual posts that breached Facebook’s Misinformation & Harm Policy.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the platform said it would not tolerate posts that had been repeatedly “debunked” by public health experts.
“We don’t allow anyone, including elected officials, to share misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts,” Facebook said in a statement.
“We have clear policies against this type of content and have removed Mr Kelly’s Facebook Page for repeated violations of this policy.”
Facebook’s policy was enforced in April 2020 and most recently updated in February 2021.
Any post that makes an untrue claim about the virus will be removed.
This includes claims such as: COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured; vaccines are not effective against the disease; that it’s safer to get COVID-19 than the vaccine and more general anti-vax claims that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will cause autism.
Mr Kelly quit the Liberal Party in February this year, telling 9News he intends to run at the next election as an independent.
The NSW Liberal, who faced an uphill battle for pre-selection in his seat of Hughes, said he was resigning from the party because he felt restrained in what he could post online in regards to coronavirus treatments.
The backbench MP had been widely criticised by leading health officials over claims he was pushing misinformation about Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin through a series of Facebook posts.
Mr Kelly responded to the ban on Twitter, calling it an attack on free speech.
“It’s wrong to censor the free speech of elected officials as it threatens our democracy,” Mr Kelly wrote.
“It’s not misinformation to have a difference of opinion.
“The idea that the faceless people of Facebook are purveyors of all truth is outrageous!”