Facebook Bans Infowars Again Amid Crack Down On Far-Right Extremists

Alex Jones
Alex Jones of Infowars talks to the media while visiting the U.S. Senate's Dirksen Senate office building as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2018. Picture taken September 5, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo)

Facebook has tightened its policies that revolve around posts and campaigns promoting violence and hate. The popular social media platform has banned a number of far-right extremist groups and personalities including Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson.

According to Engadget, Facebook was already hot on the heels of Jones' creation, Infowars before the latest crack down took place. Other personalities included in this round's ban are Paul Nehlen, Louis Farrakhan, Milo Yuannopoulos, and Laura Loomer.

Impersonations have also been banned from the social media network as well as any other groups or events that mention extremism, hate, and violence. Facebook users can still mention banned groups and personalities as long as the posts do not violate the platform's policies.

Industry analysts said the bans may not have enough power to stop extremist messages. Facebook is just one of the many platforms that far-right groups and people use to send their message across.

A spokesperson for Facebook revealed that the delay in bans was due to the long process of evaluating which pages, groups, or people displayed extremist behavior. "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," the spokesperson said.

BBC News reported that the platform has also banned some anti-Islamic groups in the U.K., including Britain First. Instagram has also locked out the abovementioned groups and individuals.

Amid extensive crackdowns on far-right extremists, Facebook has received criticism from users who questioned the company's move of warning soon-to-be-banned personalities before shutting them out of the network.

Yiannopoulos was able to tell his Instagram followers to sign up for his mailing list before his account was removed. Jones also initiated a live broadcast on Facebook regarding his account's ban.

WIRED further argued that Loomer and Watson, like Jones and Yiannopoulos, were able to handle their respective accounts almost an hour after the supposed bans were reported by multiple platforms.

Some of the banned personalities appear to have been given some time to direct their followers and supporters to other channels, analysts noted. Some experts also suggested that the latest crackdown could further prove that Facebook is still struggling with content moderation.

In a statement to CNN Business, Facebook said some of the factors that it relied on for banning Infowars and other far-right personalities include racism, hateful ideology posts, and hate speech.

Another major criterion that Facebook has been using over the past years in its ban movement is whether groups, pages, and personal accounts have been locked out previously due to violation of the platform's hate speech policies.

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