Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Aisling O'Loughlin

Facebook deletes former Xposé presenter's Instagram page over 'harmful' misinformation

The platform had deleted several of Aisling O’Loughlin’s posts recently.

FACEBOOK HAS REMOVED the Instagram account of former TV presenter Aisling O’Loughlin for “repeatedly sharing harmful misinformation” related to vaccines and Covid-19. 

In recent months, the former Xposé presenter posted numerous false claims about Covid-19, public health measures and vaccines to her feed.

She had gained a significant new following as a result of her dissemination of anti-lockdown messages – including videos that appear to undermine the use of vaccines and certain health measures which aim to fight Covid-19.

Among the debunked claims she shared with her 27,000 followers were suggestions that Covid-19 vaccines are “experimental”, that RTÉ stars have been paid off by pharma companies and that face masks contain “parasitic worms”.

She has also praised other figures who have made misleading and false claims about the pandemic over the past year, including UCD professor Dolores Cahill and former Pfizer researcher Mike Yeadon.

“Aisling O’Loughlin’s Instagram account has been permanently removed from our platform for repeatedly sharing harmful misinformation and fact-checked hoaxes related to the vaccine and Covid-19,” a spokesperson for Facebook confirmed. 

“We are taking aggressive steps to fight harmful misinformation about Covid-19 and approved vaccines and remove violating content that is brought to our attention.”

Last month, Facebook deprioritised O’Loughlin’s account in searches on the platform, meaning it was less likely to appear in the search bar for those looking for it – but it remained active up until yesterday.

A spokesperson told The Journal that a number of O’Loughlin’s Instagram posts had been removed for violating “harmful misinformation policies”.

- Contains reporting by Stephen McDermott.