Three days after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. posted on Twitter that he was still banned from Instagram, the Meta-owned social media platform announced that it has restored his account.
“As he is now an active candidate for president of the United States, we have restored access to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s, Instagram account,” Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Instagram’s parent company Meta, said in a June 4 statement.
Kennedy, who is seeking the Democrat presidential nomination and is running against President Joe Biden and author Marianne Williamson, was barred from Instagram in February 2021 for what Meta described as breaking its rules regarding COVID-19.
At the time, a company spokesperson said Instagram removed his account for “repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.”
Meta owns Facebook and Instagram. Kennedy’s Facebook account remained active.
Meta removed Instagram and Facebook accounts belonging to Children’s Health Defense (CHD), Kennedy’s non-profit organization that according to its website advocates to “end childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable, and establish safeguards to prevent future harm.”
Meta said that the CHD accounts were banned because they repeatedly violated the company’s COVID-19 policies.
Kennedy wrote on June 1 on Twitter, “Instagram still hasn’t reinstated my account, which was banned years ago with more than 900,000 followers.
“To silence a major political candidate is profoundly undemocratic. Social media is the modern equivalent of the town square. How can democracy function if only some candidates have access to it?” Kennedy added.
Kennedy is the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy.
An environmental attorney, the younger Kennedy is widely known for his outspoken stances about the dangers of the COVID-19 vaccine and the negative impact of COVID pandemic lockdowns.
He is also a vocal opponent of government and Big Tech censorship.
On May 24, a Bloomberg columnist alleged that Twitter has “approved 83 percent of censorship requests by authoritarian governments.”
Musk responded by saying that his social media platform had no “actual choice” but to comply with government censorship requests.
Kennedy defended Musk with a tweet that said, “He is pretty much correct. Private companies can resist, but governments can shut down platforms like Twitter or fine them into oblivion.
“Enough,” Kennedy added. “I’m going to put a stop to that, at least in the United States.”
“The United States is supposed to be a champion of freedom in the world,” Kennedy wrote in another tweet. “My administration will restore that role. We will end the censorship-industrial complex.”
Musk invited Kennedy to appear in a live audio chat on Twitter Spaces for a conversation about “reclaiming democracy.”
The Democrat presidential candidate talked about censorship among other topics in the interview with Musk on June 5.
Kennedy praised Musk for his management of Twitter.
“I think if we don’t protect free speech at all costs, we don’t have a functioning democracy,” Kennedy said.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on June 4 endorsed Kennedy for president in 2024.
Dorsey contends that Kennedy can defeat former President Donald Trump and Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.
“He can and will,” Dorsey wrote.
Not a Fringe Candidate
Kennedy isn’t expected to get help from the Democratic National Committee, whose members voted at their winter meeting earlier this year to give Biden their full support.
During a town hall in suburban Philadelphia on June 5, Kennedy was asked by town hall host Michael Smerconish whether he thinks Biden owes the American people a debate with Democrat primary candidates.
“It’s a strategic decision for him,” Kennedy said about reports that Biden won’t participate in a debate. “I don’t even know if President [Donald] Trump will debate his opponents.”
Kennedy added that “the optics are not good” to Americans when candidates don’t debate because “there’s so many people now who believe the system is rigged against us.”
Mainstream media outlets, Kennedy believes, are limiting coverage of his campaign.
“They still treat me as a fringe candidate and they say ‘he doesn’t have a chance’ and they don’t even put me in the polls a lot of times. And I’m way ahead of [DeSantis]. My numbers are much better than his but he’s treated as a legitimate candidate,” Kennedy said at a Memorial Day speech in San Diego.
“That’s OK. They don’t have to treat me different,” he added. “All we have to do is win the election.”