Over the weekend, Twitter co-founder and CEO of Block Jack Dorsey officially put his outsized weight behind a leading anti-vaxxer for president. Dorsey can now join other tech execs like his strained friend Elon Musk endorsing extremist political candidates, helping to spread even more misinformation online like water from a sprinkler.
On Sunday, Dorsey retweeted a Fox News report about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who argued that he could beat former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis if he won the Democratic nomination. Dorsey wrote “He can and will.” As if that wasn’t explicit enough, when another user asked if he was endorsing or just predicting Kennedy would win the nomination, Dorsey replied “both.”
Kennedy is a mainstream anti-vaxxer who has used his political influence to advocate against covid vaccines and, before that, the measles vaccine which—according to the CDC—could save 19 million lives between 2021 and 2030. Jr. announced a run for the Democratic party presidential ticket earlier this year, and over the past few weeks Dorsey has been heavily promoting the anti-vaxxer on his social media feeds, though he’s kept these views off Twitter until now. Dorsey has also shared a host of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy talking points, something that RFK Jr. has been all too happy to promote as well.
RFK Jr.’s position as a political candidate has come with other perks on social media. Instagram banned Kennedy’s account back in 2021 for breaking its covid misinformation policies. Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram both banned his anti-vax group Children’s Health Defense in the middle of 2022. The Washington Post reported that on Sunday, Instagram lifted its suspension on Kennedy’s account.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone told WaPo his account was reinstated because “he is now an active candidate for president of the United States.” Children’s Health Defense remains banned on both platforms. Gizmodo reached out to Meta for comment about its misinformation and candidate policies, but we did not immediately hear back.
Kennedy is trying to position himself as an alternative, anti-establishment candidate compared to his peers. But before you can ramble off his list of political beliefs, you must climb through the morass of his ostensible anti-vaxxer beliefs. He’s gone so far to claim at an anti-vaxxer rally that Anne Frank and other victims of the holocaust didn’t have it as bad as poor, poor maligned vaccine skeptics. Meanwhile, scientists have warned his and others’ anti-vaccine advocacy has incentivized parents to keep their kids from routine vaccinations.
Despite being replaced as CEO, Twitter owner Musk is also planning to host a Twitter Space with Kennedy Monday, calling the talk “Reclaiming Democracy.” This came after Jr. tweeted Thursday complaining about the Instagram ban that was removed Sunday. We’ll see how many falsities RFK Jr. tries to mainstream now as the most popular social media sites shift their weight to a more conspiracy-ridden, 2024 campaign season.