Instagram, owned by Facebook, has banned Federal MP Craig Kelly only a day after the company banned the member of parliament on Facebook.
Prior to Kelly’s Instagram ban, the politician announced his plan to propose a Bill that would seek to rein in the power of Big Tech companies like Facebook.
The Bill would be based on a similar law passed recently in Florida that will penalise social media companies for removing political figures from their platform, with offenders expected to receive fines of around $100,000 for the banning of state-wide candidates.
“The market power of the foreign-controlled tech-giants and their ability to censor political speech is an immediate and direct threat to our democracy,” Kelly told The Epoch Times.
Facebook banned the main page of Kelly following controversial COVID-19-related posts that they claimed was not in line with official health guidelines.
According to Kelly however, Facebook had not responded to his requests for information regarding which posts led to the suspension of his account.
“They have not even given the courtesy of a reply,” said Kelly.
Previously, Kelly published several posts on data or studies that outlined alternative research to official Australian health guidelines.
Kelly denied claims that his posts were spreading “misinformation,” saying that his posts were merely a reflection of research done by scientists globally, not just in Australia.
“Everything that I’ve posted is 100 percent backed up by the science, the evidence, expert opinions of highly qualified people around the world,” Kelly said.
“I’m quoting a doctor or a medical specialist that has a different opinion from another doctor or medical specialist. That doesn’t make it misinformation; that makes it an alternative opinion,” Kelly said.
“A society where someone that has an alternative opinion to you is spreading misinformation is a fascist, totalitarian society.”
While it is unclear why Kelly was banned specifically, some of his recent posts include reporting on rare blood clots following AstraZeneca vaccinations, both in Australia and abroad.
Kelly also made posts that linked to data in support of Ivermectin as an alternative form of treatment for COVID-19, a drug that has not been approved by the Australian Government Department of Health due to insufficient evidence.
According to Monash University, an Australian peer-reviewed study in April 2020 showed that a single dose of Ivermectin could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture but was not approved due to a lack of clinical trials.
In a post, Kelly linked an Ivermectin analysis website that lists 52 studies, of which 24 are peer-reviewed, detailing the effects of Ivermectin in early and late treatment of COVID-19.
Kelly had also proposed a “No Vaccine Passports” bill, with other remarks including opposing the need for children to wear masks—a statement that drew backlash from the media.
A few months later, Kelly shared an article by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), which said that YouTube took down an AIER-linked video containing comments by Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff.
“Children should not wear face masks,” Kulldorff said. “They don’t need it for their own protection, and they don’t need it for protecting other people either.”
Kelly resigned from the Liberal Party in February and joined the crossbench following pressure on the government due to his views on COVID-19 treatments that were not approved by the Department of Health.
Kelly also regularly made posts condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in Australia, including criticising the Belt and Road initiative and Confucius institutes in Australian universities.
Kelly had one of the largest engagements of any Australian politician on Facebook, garnering around 1 million engagements per month.
“It’s just an appalling state of affairs that a foreign entity like Facebook would censor an Australian elected member of parliament,” Kelly said.
“A society where Facebook are the arbiters of truth is a very dangerous society.”
Daniel Y. Teng, AAP, contributed to this report.
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