Anti-vax campaigns have entered the conversation around misinformation on the internet, with false theories about the harms that come with vaccinations spreading on platforms like Facebook and Youtube. The role fundraising sites play in this has mostly gone unnoticed, until now.
Recently, GoFundMe shared it will remove anti-vax campaigns on its website, as reported by The Daily Beast. A spokesman for GoFundMe told the outlet, “Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform.”
According to The Daily Beast, fundraisers by anti-vax groups have raised at least $170,000 in the last four years on GoFundMe. That’s a significant amount of money. Removing their ability to use GoFundMe may not completely defund anti-vax groups, but it’ll definitely make things harder for them moving forward.
Anti-vax campaigns can be dangerous not only because some of them use bad science, but also because they have real-life consequences. Health officials in New York partly blamed the anti-vax for a recent measles outbreak that have infected mostly children.
Last month, Pinterest announced it was halting search results on vaccines and combating anti-vax messaging. It was surprising to see Pinterest make that decision, but it made sites like Facebook share their own plans for combating anti-vax misinformation as well.
It’s unlikely that GoFundMe is the only crowdfunding site that the anti-vax movement uses. Hopefully, others will be motivated to follow GoFundMe’s lead and stop the spread of misinformation.