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GoFundMe bans antivax fundraisers as tech companies finally crack down on medical disinformation

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On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that crowdfunding platform GoFundMe is banning anti-vaccine activists from fundraising to promote medical disinformation and conspiracy theories:

“Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform,” spokesman Bobby Whithorne told The Daily Beast.

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“We are conducting a thorough review and will remove any campaigns currently on the platform.”

“Antivaxxer” campaigns, at least those that promote an alternative product to vaccines, would appear to already violate GoFundMe’s terms of service, which prohibit “products that make health claims that have not been approved or verified by the applicable local … or national regulatory body.”

Nonetheless, such campaigns have been highly effective on the platform. Antivax activist Larry Cook, for example, has generated nearly $80,000 from various GoFundMe campaigns, and has used the money to take out attack ads against vaccines on Facebook — including some that targeted pregnant women during a measles outbreak. Cook’s website disclaims that he may also skim some of the proceeds from his campaigns to pay “personal bills.”

GoFundMe’s decision is the latest in a series of steps taken by tech companies in recent weeks to curtail false medical information on their platforms. Facebook is moving to prohibit antivax ads, and YouTube is trying to demonetize antivax videos posted to the site.

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All available medical evidence shows vaccines are among the safest and most effective medical treatments in use today. But conspiracy theories about vaccine efficacy and side effects have caused many parents to delay or skip the recommended vaccine schedule, with the result that once-eradicated childhood diseases like measles, which can cause brain damage and death, are coming back.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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