Stopping the spread of misinformation
The online campaign launched on Change.org was started by Sarah Bartolo whose mission is to stop influential 'instagrammers' from misleading people for selfish gain. Bartolo has specifically targeted users Anna Rose Richards and Taylor Winterstein as she considers their platform is being used to spread negativity, misinformation and hate. She explains:
[They] use their large social media platforms on Instagram to encourage their followers to reject mask wearing, ignore medical advice from health care professionals, use unproved Covid 'cures' like Ivermectin and encourage natural immunity.
They attend anti-lockdown protests organised by neo-Nazis; proudly live streaming their attendance and encourage their followers to do the same.
Brainwashing their followers
Both influencers have been said to be 'brainwashing' their followers into rejecting science proven results regarding COVID-19 measures. Anna Rose Richards, in particular, is said to have used the death of an Australian schoolboy to fuel anti-vaxx narratives. She has also praised followers of hers that have attended mass anti-lockdown marches in Sydney. Bartolo explains that:
They financially profit from the mistrust and falsehoods they share by increasing their audience and secure brand endorsements as they weaponise mental health and push their damaging rhetoric to tens of thousands of followers.
They are anti-science and share information connected to far-right extremist movements veiled by wellness and spirituality messages. It is absolutely disgusting and is such a slap in the face to everyone who is working so hard to fight this virus.
Despite the thousands of signatures to ban their accounts, the two influencers have been able to keep their platform running.