A number of racist, alt-right, and white supremacist personalities and pages were banned from Facebook and Instagram on May 2. Social media giant Facebook accused the accounts of violating its policies against dangerous individuals and organizations.
Among those removed were Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Infowars, The Verge reported. While the accounts were banned, the company said users may continue to create posts on both sites celebrating them and their viewpoints.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook said in a statement. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
Facebook issued the strictest ban for Infowars content, according to The Atlantic. The company will remove any groups created to share Infowars content or events that promote any of the banned figures.
Jones, who founded Infowars and is a known conspiracy theorist, was suspended in 2018 by Facebook for violating rules on bullying and hate speech. Facebook removed another 22 pages connected to Jones and his businesses in February. Jones has also been banned by Twitter, YouTube, and Apple.
Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at Infowars, called Facebook’s decision to ban him and others politically motivated and an attempt to influence the upcoming general election. In a video posted to social media, he called Facebook’s move a “chilling” example of a giant partisan corporation exerting its power.
“Notice how the media were tipped off an hour in advance of me getting banned,” Watson tweeted. “The same media that’s been lobbying for conservatives to be silenced, censored, and deplatformed for the past two years.” He went on to claim that “they” wanted conservatives to “disappear.”
Yiannopoulos, Nehlen, and Loomer have all been previously banned from Twitter.
In a statement to TheWrap, far-right activist Loomer said she was living in a “digital gulag” and expressed frustration that she was grouped with Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan and neo-Nazi politician Nehlen.
“What’s the point of life anymore? I live in a digital gulag. Yesterday I wrote an article about how I was living in a digital gulag on Holocaust Remembrance Day. And today, even though I am a Zionist and have dedicated my life to combating Jew hatred, these Nazis in Silicon Valley banned me during Yom Hashoah with vile Jew haters like Louis Farrakhan and Paul Nehlen,” she said.
Loomer is infamous for pulling stunts on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and continued, “It’s disgusting. But I don’t expect anything less from these people who want me dead. They want to kill me, but I’d rather kill myself than to let them take the victory lap.”
Although Facebook did not reveal all of the incidents that led to the removal of the accounts, the social media company said it made the decision after a period of review, The Verge reported. The company said that it took into consideration the actions and behaviors of those involved both on and offline.
Facebook noted a handful of actions that led to the removal of the accounts. Jones appeared in videos with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, who Facebook designated as a hate figure, in December and February. Loomer also appeared with McInnes in December and announced her support for far-right activist Faith Goldy, who was banned for racists videos.
Yiannopoulos has also publicly praised McInnes and British far-right activist Tommy Robinson, who was designated as a hate figure by Facebook.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.