Facebook has suspended InfoWars founder Alex Jones from the social media site for 30 days for violating Facebook’s policies against bullying and hate speech. After receiving complaints from Facebook users, four Jones videos were removed from the platform late Thursday.
“Our community standards make it clear that we prohibit content that encourages physical harm (bullying), or attacks someone based on their religious affiliation or gender identity (hate speech),” Facebook said in a statement.
Facebook users complained about four videos posted on the Facebook pages maintained by Jones and InfoWars, including an anti-liberalism video that showed an adult man shoving a young boy to the ground. In another video, Jones drew a comparison between an animated drag queen show to Satanism.
Three of the four videos were reported for the first time yesterday. Facebook reviewed them and took them down after determining they violated the social network’s community standards. A fourth had been flagged a month ago, and determined to be not in violation. Upon subsequent review, it was removed yesterday.
YouTube also took action against Jones this week: InfoWars was banned from YouTube’s live-streaming platform for three months.
Just this past Wednesday at TCA, Facebook, attempting to focus on its Facebook Watch platform, faced renewed questions about its handling of InfoWars. Among the questions posed during the panel concerned such InfoWars conspiracy theories as the so-called “Sandy Hook massacre hoax” and the falsehood that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job. Jones recently falsely accused special counsel Robert Mueller of being a pedophile.
All the social media platforms have been under intense scrutiny for their handling of misinformation on their platforms. Facebook, in particular, has wrestled with developing a coherent policy for dealing with publishers that peddle in conspiracy theories. The company has argued that it doesn’t want to step into the role of censor — that people can say “something untrue” on Facebook — but that it won’t promote such ideas to wider audience.
Still, Facebook has attracted criticism for its inaction, especially after this week’s Jones monologue in which he appeared to threaten violence against special counsel Robert Mueller, remarking, “You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch. Get ready.”
Facebook had sent Jones previous warnings that he was on thin ice. It notified him that he had repeatedly violated community standards and would be subject to a ban the next time he did so. These latest complaints were the last straw that led to the 30-day suspension.
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