Kennedy vs Zuckerberg: RFK Jr Sues Meta and Mark Zuckerberg for Censorship - Honest Media

On May 13, 2024, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and American Values 2024 (AV24), a Super PAC that supports Kennedy, filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, claiming the social media giant engaged in censorship and election interference when it blocked a 30-minute documentary about Kennedy narrated by the actor Woody Harrelson.

According to the lawsuit, “Facebook and Instagram . . . sent users messages threatening to suspend their accounts or otherwise punish them if they sought to watch, share, or even post a link to the film.” Furthermore, the suit alleges, Meta “made good on these threats, disabling and suspending users” who dared to watch or share the video.

The suit alleges that Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and “John Does 1-10” censored the “Who Is Bobby Kennedy?” biopic by blocking users from sharing it “within minutes” of the video’s release on May 3. “Who Is Bobby Kennedy?” has generated at least tens of millions of views on X, but in light of the block and the algorithmic chain of consequences triggered by it, the video has had little reach on Facebook.

Does this action constitute censorship and election interference?

“It is absolutely election interference,” Mark Gorton, co-founder of AV24, told me last week. “In order to have free elections, you have to have a free exchange of ideas and information about candidates.”

Gorton further explained to Honest Media that he sees this case as “enormously important” because “social media is now how Americans get their news.”

Forbes reported that Meta, an umbrella corporation that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Threads, claimed in the days following the release that “the link was mistakenly blocked.” Gorton countered by telling me that Meta “tried to block this eight different ways. They called it pornography. They called it violence. If it was just a mistake, why would you threaten to take someone’s account away?”

And so a question of demonstrable intent will likely surface in the trial. In pursuit of that question, lawyers will need to look into the history of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public and private political commitments. Is this episode the first time a Zuckerberg platform has censored Kennedy?


CNN reported that Instagram banned Kennedy in February of 2021 for allegedly spreading misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meta restored Kennedy’s account in June 2023 shortly after he announced his candidacy for president, and Kennedy is now polling higher than any independent since Ross Perot’s run in 1992.

A Rasmussen poll early in May 2023 showed Kennedy in a dead heat with Biden in the race for the Democratic nomination. Months later, in October 2023, a New York Times/Siena College poll showed Kennedy defeating both Biden and Trump among all voters under 45 in six key swing states. As Kennedy currently vies for ballot access across the country, his campaign manager, Amaryllis Fox, shared on X that five recent polls show his appeal ranging from 15% to 18%. Head-to-head polling by Zogby for Kennedy’s campaign found that he hypothetically defeats both Biden and Trump. In other words, if either Trump or Biden drops out, Kennedy would likely win the election in a two-person race against the other candidate. 

These numbers matter. For courts to take Kennedy’s suit seriously, they may first have to recognize that he is a serious candidate, which he clearly is.

Lawyers for Kennedy filed their action against Meta and Zuckerberg in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. The suit grounds its argument in the First Amendment and The Support and Advocacy Clause of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, commonly known as “the Ku Klux Klan Act.” Project Democracy explains that this act was created in 1871 to protect individuals from “political violence and intimidation” but has more recently been used to protect from voter fraud and intimidation. If Kennedy and AV24 are able to prove censorship and election interference, this case will set a new precedent for election law.

But lawyers and Kennedy insiders aside, the Meta case also has consequences for everyday citizens and consumers of social media, many of whom stand to lose their voices, and even livelihoods, if their accounts get suspended or banned. Meta users who tried to view “Who Is Bobby Kennedy?” were threatened with the loss of their social media accounts, which have come to represent access to platforms and social networks that bond families, friends, and businesses together.

“This goes beyond restricting freedom of expression on issues and ideas,” Kennedy argued in a press release from his campaign. “Meta is censoring a biographical film about a major candidate in an election year.”

In a heated political context where it seems Biden and Trump prefer to ignore Kennedy rather than engage with his critiques of their conduct during Covid (to say nothing of foreign and domestic policies), it’s hard not to see Kennedy versus Zuckerberg as analogous to David versus Goliath. Can Kennedy defeat Meta and its assets in the uniparty and intelligence community?

Can Kennedy actually win the general election?

Anthony Shriver, a Kennedy relative, said “absolutely” on The Today Show last week. Douglas Mackinnon, a former speechwriter for two American presidents, wrote an op-ed for The Hill stating that he also believes the answer is yes. Millions of Americans seem to agree; at a time when “70 percent of the voters say they prefer the Democratic and Republican nominees weren’t named Biden or Trump, ‘impossible’ might be a much lower hurdle to clear [than usual],” Mackinnon argued.

Especially when your name is Kennedy.

When his father ran for president, the odds were also stacked against the elder Kennedy. The original RFK, like his son, became the challenger to establishment Democrats, but was on the way to winning them over when he was assassinated after achieving victory in the California primary on June 4, 1968.

However, to win as an independent candidate is an entirely new frontier.

Kennedy’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan, recently called out Meta’s behavior on X. Shanahan, a Silicon Valley lawyer, entrepreneur, and the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, knows a thing or two about what happens behind the curtain of the Internet.

“Mark Zuckerberg, are you kidding me?!” Shanahan wrote. “No amount of MMA fighting will make you look strong if you continue to behave so cowardly.” With election day less than six months away, Kennedy versus Zuckerberg should be a good warmup for both the establishment and the challenger.

By M.C. Armstrong, Honest Media, May 30, 2024

Read More: This article is part of the COVID-19 and Legal series: Check out the COVID-19 and Legal series here >  COVID and Legal series.


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