In a recent announcement, Facebook announced that it had taken action to prevent the use of its social media platform for dangerous purposes, it claimed
to have banned some high-profile personalities, top on the list of those banned is the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Farrakhan is notorious for using anti-Semitic language, also included in the list is right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, these individuals have been termed as “dangerous”.
Recall that in August 2018, InfoWars which acts as Jones media outlet was banned from Facebook, however, this ban did not include other social media platforms that belong to Facebook, thus Jones was reported to have maintained a presence on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. The announcement said that Jones’ InfoWars will also be barred from Instagram on Thursday, so as of this moment Jones have also been banned from Instagram.
Another person banned on Thursday was Mr. Paul Nehlen, is also notorious for using of antisemitic statements, recall that Paul Nehlen ran for Congress in 2016 and 2018 but was both times unsuccessful, also banned are fringe right-wing media personalities Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos and Paul Joseph Watson.
In a statement made available to CNN Business, a Facebook spoke and said
“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.”
While speaking during the CNN Business show, the Facebook spokesperson told CNN that the company actually goes through a lengthy process, taking into consideration a number of factors before determining an individual to be “dangerous”, according to him, such factors include whether the individual or organization concerned has ever; by words, posts or insinuation; called for violence against individuals based on race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; whether the person has been identified with a hateful ideology; whether they have used hate speeches or slurs in the about section of their social media profiles; and whether they have had pages or groups removed from Facebook for violating hate speech rules.
According to the Facebook spokesperson, Facebook also restricts users from expressing praise or support for banned individuals or organizations on its platforms, to the New York based company, such actions are the correct approach to making her social media platforms safe for users. However; the Facebook spokesperson hinted that the policy may not apply to any or all of the people banned last Thursday.
The spokesperson further added that groups, pages and accounts created to represent the banned individuals; when observed that such a banned individual is participating in the effort; will also be removed from the platforms.
Responding to the “dangerous” title bestowed on them and the removal of their accounts from the Facebook platforms, Loomer, in an Instagram post, denied that she ever violated the company’s terms of service. Loomer asked her followers to follow her on another different platform, then she posted
“Looks like you guys will probably never hear from me again.”
Watson whose Twitter account had not been banned wrote
“In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged.”
Farrakhan, Jones and Nehlen have not responded yet to requests for comment.
According to the Facebook spokesperson during the CNN Business show,
“As this email correspondence shows, we continually monitor and review whether people are involved in organized hate on our platform. We’ve already taken down InfoWars’ Facebook Page, but Alex Jones has a network of presences online and we are evaluating how to appropriately enforce our policies against him as an individual. We’re committed to being diligent and will share an update when that process has run its course.”