Facebook Bans Accounts of Far-Right Leaders Such as Alex Jones and Laura Loomer
Facebook permanently banned the accounts of several far-right leaders, including Infowars founder Alex Jones, and influencers Laura Loomer and Milo Yannopoulous, from its platform Thursday. They are also banning the pages associated, like the one for the Infowars site. This ban comes after the company announced it would no longer tolerate white nationalism and separatism on the platform.
Who Is Banned
Many of the users affected by the ban have already been banned from other platforms. Twitter banned Yannopoulous back in 2016. Twitter also banned Loomer in 2018 for spreading misinformation about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Several platforms have already banned Jones for his conspiracy theories about divisive topics, including gun control (mainly when it comes to school shootings) and immigration.
Facebook also banned Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, for his anti-Semitic comments. Bans also included Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson and white supremacist Paul Nehlsen. The ban includes accounts run by these users, and they will remove any supporter accounts or pages in their likeness.
A Facebook spokesperson told the press,
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
Instagram Follows Suit
Because Instagram is part of Facebook, the cleanse also took place there. They cited the “dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policies when speaking about the decision. They did assure they will take no action against anyone speaking in defense of these users.
The Instagram ban came a while later than Facebook, so some of the users were able to tell their followers where to find them before their accounts disappeared.
This story is still developing. Facebook hasn’t clearly defined what brought on the purge. I think this is an important step in fighting the spread of misinformation and bigotry.