Facebook bans extremist figures for violating hate policy

Facebook has banned Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan and other “dangerous individuals” from its main service and Instagram.

The accounts of right-wing extremists Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer were also removed, along with Mr Jones’ far-right politics website, Infowars, the company said.

Facebook said the newly-banned accounts violated its policy on hate and violence.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organisations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” the company 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.”

Milo Yiannopoulos, from Kent, England, ridicules Islam, atheism, feminism, social justice and political correctness in his speeches and writings
Image: Milo Yiannopoulos, from Kent, England, ridicules Islam, atheism and feminism in his speeches

Mr Jones was suspended from Facebook for 30 days last year under rules against bullying and hate speech, and he was banned from Twitter permanently.

A few weeks later, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify removed all content by Mr Jones for violating their policies.

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However he remained active on Instagram, where his account recently pushed a conspiracy theory about former vice president Joe Biden.

Facebook has cited instances of dehumanising language about immigrants, Muslims and transgender people on Mr Jones’ accounts, as well as violence glorification, as examples of hate and speech policy violations.

Social media companies have been under pressure from civil rights groups to clamp down on hate speech on their services.

Following the deadly white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, South Carolina, in 2017, Facebook, Paypal and Google began banishing extremist groups and individuals who identified as or supported white supremacists.

This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris
Image: Facebook has been under pressure to rid its service of hate content

It is not clear what events led to Thursday’s announcement, though Facebook has recently been under pressure to rid its service of hate and extremist content.

Last month, the company extended its ban on hate speech to prohibit the promotion and support of white nationalism and white separatism.

When asked to comment on the bans, British writer and ex-Breitbart News editor Mr Yiannopoulous emailed only: “You’re next.”

Mr Jones shared an angry video during a live stream of his show on his Infowars website.

“They didn’t just ban me. They just defamed us. Why did Zuckerberg even do this?” Mr Jones said, referring the Facebook chief executive.

He also referred to himself as a victim of “racketeering” by “cartels”.

“There’s a new world now, man, where they’re banning everybody and then they tell Congress nobody is getting banned,” he said.

Mr Watson, an English YouTube personality and conspiracy theorist, tweeted that he was not given a reason why his account was removed and that he “broke none of their rules”.

US rapper Snoop Dogg shared an angry video response to American black nationalist and minister Mr Farrakhan’s ban, who is the leader of the religious group Nation of Islam (NOI).

“Facebook and Instagram just banned a minister, Louis Farrakhan – I want to know for what?

“All he ever do was tell the truth.”

Mr Farrakhan, Mr Nehlen and Ms Loomer have not yet commented on the account bans.

Source: SKY NEWS

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