Anti-vaxxers can no longer raise money on GoFundMe

Fundraising platform GoFundMe will ban campaigns seeking to raise money in order to spread misinformation about vaccines.
Fundraising platform GoFundMe will ban campaigns seeking to raise money in order to spread misinformation about vaccines.
Image: FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

GoFundMe is cracking down on anti-vaxxers.

The popular fundraising website says it will no longer allow anti-vaccine groups and activists to raise money to spread anti-vaccination conspiracies on its platform, according to a statement provided to The Daily Beast

“Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform,” said GoFundMe spokesperson Bobby Whithorne in a similar statement provided to Mashable. 

The company’s policies state that “products that make health claims that have not been approved or verified” by regulatory bodies are prohibited from using its service.

While it’s unknown exactly how much anti-vaccination campaigns have raised money through GoFundMe, The Daily Beast reports that it had discovered previous fundraisers from anti-vaxxer activists, legal funds, and Facebook pages that totaled around $170,000.

While losing GoFundMe as a resource to raise money will certainly hurt, anti-vaxxers have been using other means to fund their efforts. A report earlier this month discovered that anti-vaccine groups were fundraising through Amazon’s charity program, AmazonSmile.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 250 cases of measles — a once nearly eradicated disease — reported in the U.S. so far this year. 

Experts say that anti-vaccination conspiracies, spread on Facebook and other social media services, have played a major role in the outbreak. Thanks to public outcry, many online companies have ramped up efforts to remove anti-vaccination content from their platforms in recent months.

In February, Pinterest blocked anti-vaccination-related search queries from its platform. Shortly after, YouTube announced that it would be demonetizing anti-vaxxer content on its site. Amazon followed suit by removing anti-vaxxer documentaries from its Prime video service. 

Faced with increasing public pressure, Facebook also announced it would take action to demote anti-vaccination pages and groups just this month.

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This campaign wants UK politicians to wake up to the dangers of the gender data gap


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Image: vicky leta / mashable

The real-world ramifications of the gender data gap are all around, us all the time. 

From the size of the phone currently in your palm, to the temperature of the office you’re sitting in, to the way your car has been built, to the way the medicine you take has been made. 

A new book by feminist campaigner and author Caroline Criado Perez has uncovered the dangers of not collecting data about women, and the fact that data bias is putting women’s lives at risk. 

A new GoFundMe campaign led by writer and activist Tracy King aims to send a copy of the book — Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men — to every MP in the country in the hope that lawmakers will take action about this important issue. 

The campaign aims to crowdfund enough money to send a copy of the book to every MP with the aim of getting them to read it and take tangible action. King told Mashable she believes Criado Perez’s book has the power to change the world, which is why it’s important our lawmakers are aware of the extent of data bias’ impact. 

Criado Perez spent three years researching and writing the book, which brings together a wealth of information about the dangers of the lack of sex-disaggregated data — data specific to women. The consequences of not collecting data about women means that urban planning, medicine, transportation, policy, design, manufacturing, and engineering are all overlooking women’s needs. 

“We knew we were second-class citizens but we couldn’t prove it before.”

King says the reason the book has already proved hugely resonant before it was even published is because women have been going through life with the knowledge that these problems already existed. “We sort of already know this, we low-level know, but we never had the proof before,” says King. “Women just went, ‘oh thank goodness, there’s proof,'” she adds. “We knew we were second-class citizens but we couldn’t prove it before.”

It goes without saying that it’s important that women, the people affected by the data gap, are aware of the book, but it also needs to fall into the hands of people in power who can do something about the data gap, says King. 

“The decision-makers, the people in power, they’re the ones who make the laws, the regulations, and the policies that directly affect women, how things are built, and how things are made,” says King. “And they need to read this book, they need to know the book exists.”

The GoFundMe campaign needs to hit its £6,750 goal in order to purchase enough books to send to all 650 members of parliament. 

“I don’t fool myself into believing all 650 MPs are definitely gonna sit down and diligently read the book and then do something. If we don’t ask, we don’t try, and if we make enough noise, then some of them, the important ones who’re the decision makers in the areas that affect women in engineering and STEM, they might do something.”

“Every law, policy of regulation that the government touches, I want them to be thinking about how that impacts women.”

King feels that female MPs will likely be interested to read the book because they “recognise the issue,” but she would like to see male MPs read the book because they might not be aware of the scale of the data gap. “It’s the ultimate way to force them to check their privilege,” says King. 

In an ideal world, King hopes that MPs will start looking at the laws, regulations, and policies that disadvantage women. 

“The government funds a huge amount of medical research, and they could make it mandatory to have gender equality in your research funding proposal,” says King.  “Big changes could be effected if people in power decided, ‘well ok, you can’t have government funding for something if you’re not considering women.'”

“I want every law, policy of regulation that the government touches, I want them to be thinking about how that impacts women,” says King. “Do a gender impact assessment as default.” 

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Instagram will support fundraisers using Story stickers

Zoa-Arts via Getty Images

Facebook’s fundraising tool has raised over $1 billion for non-profits and personal causes since its launch, and now it looks like a similar feature will be rolled out to Instagram later this year. TechCrunch has been digging around in the code of Instagram’s Android App and has found a donation sticker, which will let users search for non-profits and add a donate button to their Instagram Story.

The idea was previously — and briefly — mentioned at Facebook’s Communities Summit earlier this year, with a spokesperson now confirming that “Later this year, people will be able to raise money and help support non-profits that are important to them through a donation sticker in Instagram Stories.”

Such a tool would certainly be a redeeming feature for Instagram, which has of late been plagued with headlines surrounding bullying, political propaganda and dangerous influence — and it’s got a lot of development potential. The Fundraiser sticker could get feasibly be expanded to allow for personal donations, along the lines of GoFundMe or Ko-fi (and, indeed, Facebook). It would, however, be up against Snap in this respect, which has already carved a niche for itself as a platform for “fan only” material.

But here’s the rub. Mark Zuckerberg has been pretty vocal recently about the role commerce will play for Facebook’s family of apps, and its fundraising feature has supported that. Enter your card details once and the platform will keep them on file unless you go through a pretty laborious process to remove them.

Will the same deal apply to Fundraising stickers on Instagram? Shopping on Instagram is already incredibly attractive thanks to the lure of artfully curated posts from influencers. Adding a one-click purchase feature already populated with your bank details will make it dangerously easy, too. To encourage donations, Instagram will need to make it straightforward to get your bank details saved. If its purpose is truly altruistic, it will need to make it easy to remove them, too.

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Internet raises $160,000 for restaurant owner from 'Fyre' Netflix doc

Even if you missed the news about Fyre Festival when it went viral back in 2017, chances are you’ll have heard the name again recently.

The disastrous cancelled music festival, which led to bankruptcy, widespread money loss and a six-year prison sentence for founder Billy McFarland, has been the subject of two recent documentaries on Hulu and Netflix.

One of the people affected was restaurant owner and Great Exuma resident Maryann Rolle, who prepared food for the event.

“I had 10 persons working with me just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours,” she said in an emotional interview for Netflix’s FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. “I had to literally pay all those people.”

Well, her situation has clearly captured the heart of the internet.

A GoFundMe campaign set up by Rolle has now flown past its target, raising close to $160,000 in eight days. The campaign was verified by GoFundMe on Twitter.

“This has been an incredible outpouring of support for workers affected by the Fyre festival,” said a GoFundMe spokesperson. 

“As ever, we’ll be working with the campaign organiser to make sure funds get to the right place safely and smoothly.”

The director of Netflix’s documentary, Chris Smith, confirmed to BuzzFeed that there are also plans to create a campaign for the other Bahamian workers involved with the festival who lost out on money.

On Sunday, Rolle took to Facebook to thank her supporters.

Mashable has reached out to Rolle, and we will update this article if we receive a response.

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GoFundMe Set Up for Fyre Festival Victim Raises More Than $150,000 in Days

Image: FYRE (Netflix)

A pair of dueling Fyre Festival documentaries—one on Hulu and one on Netflix—are giving viewers a better idea of how a festival-turned-shitshow managed to so badly botch its spectacular promise of being one of the greatest events the world had ever known. While countless people were burned by the scam, Maryann Rolle’s story was one that stayed with viewers. Now, a GoFundMe campaign trying to help right a wrong has raised more than $150,000.

Rolle, the owner of a restaurant at the Exuma Point Resort in the Bahamas, discusses her ordeal in Netflix’s FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. Rolle said she had a team of 10 people working for her around the clock—all day and night—making food to feed everyone working on the project. After the festival stiffed her, she says that she lost $50,000 of her own money. She now doesn’t “even like to talk about the Fyre Festival” because of the pain it’s caused her.


“As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid…I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest,” the GoFundMe reads. “My only resource today is to appeal for help.”

Just seven days after its initial launch, the campaign with an original goal of $123,000 had by Monday evening raised more than $152,000 through nearly 5,000 donations. The campaign was also shared to Instagram this week by Ja Rule, who co-founded the festival with entrepreneur Billy McFarland (the guy who’s going to prison for this whole mess).


“My heart goes out to this lovely lady,” he captioned the post. “We’ve never met but I’m devastated that something that was meant to be amazing, turn out to be such a disaster and hurt so many ppl… SORRY to anyone who has been negatively effected [sic] by the festival.” (He’s also tweeting about Fyre Festival, uh, a lot.)

McFarland, the tech bro mastermind behind the fraudulent operation, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of wire fraud for swindling investors. He was sentenced in October to six years in prison.

[Hollywood Reporter]


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