Pop star Madonna has been censured on Instagram after she shared a video about a COVID-19 conspiracy theory to her 15 million followers. In her post, she claimed a vaccine for coronavirus had already been found but was being hidden to “let the rich get richer.”
Following its guidelines, Instagram decided to blur out the video with a caption saying: “False Information.” The social media platform also directed users to a page debunking the claims in the video, noting that there actually isn’t any coronavirus vaccine yet.
The video was later deleted from Madonna’s Instagram account but not before fans complained about the singer’s decision to share that kind of misinformation through this post.
Among the many people who reported the post was Scottish singer-songwriter and political activist Annie Lennox, who commented: “This is utter madness!!! I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery. Hopefully your site has been hacked and you’re just about to explain it.”
The video showed a group called America’s Frontline Doctors speaking outside the US Supreme Court at an event organised by Tea Party Patriots Action. In it, Dr Stella Immanuel, a doctor from Houston, said she had successfully treated 350 coronavirus patients “and counting” with hydroxychloroquine.
Facebook and Twitter had previously removed the video, flagging it as misinformation. Donald Trump Jr. was banned from tweeting for 12 hours as a penalty for sharing the same clip.
According to Instagram, flagging a post as false makes it harder for users to discover it, which is why the platform took these actions against Madonna’s post.
This is not the first time Madonna has made controversial claims about coronavirus. In March, she posted a video of herself in her bath speaking about the virus and describing it as “the great equaliser.”
In May, she then revealed she had tested positive for antibodies, supposedly granting her immunity from the disease. She told her fans: “So tomorrow I’m just going to go on a long drive in a car, roll down the windows and I’m going to breathe in the COVID-19 air.”