Instagram and Facebook Ban Alex Jones, InfoWars, and a Host of Other Alt-Right Trashbags
It's about damn time.
What do Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Louis Farrakhan have in common, besides residing in our collective nightmares? These mouthpieces of hideous racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, and downright dangerous extremist rhetoric have all been banned from Facebook and Instagram.
The move comes after the company’s announcement in March that they would be taking progressive steps against white nationalism and white supremacy. Those listed above were banned for violating Facebook’s policy against “dangerous individuals and organizations.” Farrakhan, while not a member of the alt-right, is being banned for his anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Facebook released a statement saying, “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.”
The lifetime bans include not only their personal accounts, but also any fan pages or group pages supporting the individuals. Jones’s conspiracy site Infowars will not only be banned, but any account sharing Infowars content will see their postings removed.
Facebook joins Twitter, Apple, and YouTube in its Infowars blackout. Infowars and Alex Jones, in addition to spewing vitriolic hate speech, promoted the hideous lie that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “false flag” operation, which resulted in the grieving parents being harassed online by Jones’s deranged followers. Said parents are now part of a class action lawsuit against Jones and Infowars.
Social media sites like Facebook have long been too lenient when it comes to hate speech, hiding behind the First Amendment and both sides-sim. But with the increase in domestic and international terrorism committed by dangerous men radicalized on social media, national attention has put these companies under scrutiny. Most notable amongst these attacks were the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand, where the killer live-streamed his attacks on Facebook.
Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said “The reality is, people are getting killed. There are mass shootings and mass murders that are clearly being connected to ideas like white genocide, which are fueling radicalization … The conditions have changed. When you have these massive catalyzing moments that are connected to real-life consequences, it puts pressure on Facebook and others to look in the mirror.”
This banning is all part of larger global issues regarding online extremism, conspiracy theories, and hate speech. It’s a widespread issue that ranges from Russian election interference to anti-vaxxer propaganda to QAnon to Pizzagate. It’s an onslaught of conspiracies disguised as news, of extremist views disguised as facts. Banning these heinous individuals is merely the tip of an iceberg of radical misinformation and extremism.
But also, f-ck those guys to infinity and beyond.
(via Washington Post, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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