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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.

“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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Trump had two goals in ramping up pressure on Iran — and he’s failing at both: CNN

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he doesn't want war with Iran, which would likely put him at odds with his more bellicose advisers like John Bolton.

That being said, the president clearly believes he can bully Iran into unconditional submission to whatever the United States demands. And Iran is having none of it, escalating its own acts of maritime aggression and proclaiming they have missile technology capable of striking U.S. aircraft carriers.

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Ukrainian-Russian developer with Trump Tower Moscow ties suing after getting bilked for $200,000 at inauguration

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It is illegal for foreigners to donate to presidential inaugurations, but a new lawsuit sheds light on how wealthy foreigners attempted to buy access to the Trump administration.

"A Ukrainian-Russian developer who wanted access to President Trump’s inauguration filed a lawsuit on Tuesday saying he was bilked out of the $200,000 he paid for what he thought would be V.I.P. tickets to the event," The New York Times reported Tuesday.

"The developer, Pavel Fuks, who once discussed a Moscow real estate project with Mr. Trump, said in the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, that he had paid the money to a firm at the direction of Yuri Vanetik, a prominent Republican fund-raiser and sometime lobbyist," the newspaper explained. "But, the lawsuit said, Mr. Vanetik failed to come through with the promised tickets, and Mr. Fuks ended up watching the inauguration from a Washington hotel bar."

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Indicted Republican gets his passport back — so he can leave the country prior to his bribery trial

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Despite being indicted and waiting to stand trial, a North Carolina judge returned the passport of a top Republican and is allowing him to leave the country.

Former North Carolina GOP Chair Robin Hayes spent a decade in Congress and was once the Republican nominee for governor.

In April, Hayes was indicted on bribery and wire fraud charges.

Despite the seriousness of the charges, a federal judge will temporarily return Hayes' passport for him to travel abroad in July, WSCO-TV correspondent Joe Bruno reported on Tuesday.

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