Just 12 people are responsible for the majority of COVID-19 conspiracy theories online, study finds. JFK’s anti-vaxxer nephew is one of the ‘disinformation dozen.’

Stock photo of disinformation, left. Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a prominent anti-vaxxer, is pictured right.
The disinformation dozen, which includes Robert F. Kennedy Jr, are twelve anti-vaxxers who play leading roles in spreading digital misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Getty Images
  • 12 people are responsible for the majority of COVID-19 disinformation shared online, according to a CCDH study.
  • The CCDH found that 65% of anti-vaccine posts on Facebook and Twitter could be attributed to the “disinformation dozen.”
  • The disinformation dozen includes a bodybuilder, a wellness blogger, and JFK’s nephew.
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The majority of COVID-19 disinformation shared online comes from just 12 people, according to a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

The CCDH analyzed 812,000 anti-vaccine posts shared on Facebook and Twitter between February 1 and March 16, 2021. It found that 65 percent of this content could be attributed to what is being dubbed the “disinformation dozen.”

On Facebook alone, the CCDH found that those 12 people were responsible for 73 percent of the anti-vaccine content on the platform.

The report, originally published in March, has garnered attention following White House press secretary Jen Psaki referencing it in a briefing on Thursday.

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The disinformation dozen is made up of a bodybuilder, a wellness blogger, and a religious zealot, The Guardian reported.

Also, most notably, it includes the nephew of former President John F Kennedy. Robert F Kennedy Jr is a prominent anti-vaxxer who has proliferated disinformation connecting vaccines to autism and the COVID-19 shots to 5G phone technology.

His account was part removed by Instagram, the CCDH said, but he remains active on Facebook and Twitter.

Fewer than half of the members of the disinformation dozen – Kennedy, Sherri Tenpenny, Rizza Islam, Sayer Ji, and Kelly Brogan – have had one of their social media accounts removed or partially removed, the study said.

The CCDH is now calling on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to de-platform every member of the disinformation dozen with haste.

“The most effective and efficient way to stop the dissemination of harmful information is to de-platform the most highly visible repeat offenders, who we term the disinformation dozen,” the study said. “This should also include the organizations these individuals control or fund, as well as any backup accounts they have established to evade removal.”