Friday, May 3, 2019

Facebook Bans 'Dangerous Individuals'

Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was banning Alex Jones and other controversial U.S. political personalities for violating the social media company’s policies on “dangerous individuals and organizations.”

Reuters reports most of the individuals whose accounts are being removed are popular figures on the far right, including commentators Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer and Paul Joseph Watson.

Facebook also said it is banning Paul Nehlen, an avowed white supremacist who ran for Congress in 2018, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has preached black separatism and referred to Jews as “termites.”

The company will remove any accounts, pages, groups and events associated with the banned individuals, both on its core social network and its photo-sharing app Instagram. It says it bans any users who promote violence or hate.

Laura Loomer
Facebook announced the ban before removing the affected accounts, giving the account owners time to redirect their thousands of followers to other channels before the accounts disappeared.

Infowars, the website run by Jones, posted a response saying that the ban “... amounts to editorial control over user content - and a donation in kind to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.”

Social media companies have an uneasy history with voices on the far right, struggling for years to decide how to handle extremist content even as its purveyors used the services to amass followers and catapult themselves into the mainstream.

The result has often been haphazard enforcement of policies: Facebook removed pages associated with Jones and his Infowars website starting last year, but left up his personal profile, for example.

Apple Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Twitter also banned Infowars last year.

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