Facebook Bans Alex Jones, Farrakhan, Yiannopoulos And Other 'Dangerous' Figures

April FrancisMay 03, 2019

The bans are likely to be welcomed by civil rights activists, who have long argued that these individuals espouse violent and hateful views and that Silicon Valley companies should not allow their platforms to become a vehicle for spreading them. It just took a while to deliver these bans due to the "extensive" process of evaluating potential offenders.

Paul Joseph Watson confirmed his ban, claiming he has not broken Facebook's rules, and commenting, "In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged".

Figures like Jones, Loomer and Yiannopoulus were able to cultivate a massive reach using the platform, making Facebook's move "insufficient", said Cristina López G, the deputy director for extremism at Media Matters for America, a not-for-profit media watchdog. Facebook has been accused numerous times of suppressing conservative voices.

Facebook gave a statement to CNN in which they explained their rationale for applying the "dangerous" designation to those individuals and banning them from the platform. Twitter has also suspended accounts for Jones, Yiannopoulos, and Loomer. Now that has been prohibited on Facebook's sites as well.

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Other groups kicked off both Facebook or Instagram last month included Knights Templar International, Britain First, the British National Party (BNP) and the National Front. The company had previously banned the official InfoWars Page in August and banned 22 more InfoWars-related Pages where Jones was an administrator earlier this year. Groups and events that promote Infowars or any of the banned "extremists" will be removed as well, a spokesperson told the Atlantic. Though he's not a far-right extremist, Facebook also banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

While this new ban won't please some free speech advocates, it does clear up where Facebook stands on the subject. The spokesperson did not say if this applied to anyone specifically. Twitter, however, refused to take down his comments. Watson also has 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube.

Accounts barred from Facebook, as well as its subsidiary Instagram, as part of the new enforcement include the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the neo-Nazi sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos and the anti-Muslim figurehead Laura Loomer. Twitter permanently blocked InfoWars and Jones in September for violating its harassment policies.

However, Facebook has been criticised for giving forewarning of the bans, giving those affected a chance to redirect their followers to other services. "Removing them from Facebook and Instagram will go a long way towards ensuring the safety of their users".

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