Facebook has banned popular right-wing personalities, citing their content as “dangerous” while announcing a major purge from its platforms.
Bans have been issued to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, fringe right social media personality Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos, who often espouses xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments, among several others.
"We've always banned individuals or organisations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," the company said in a statement announcing the bans. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."
Other accounts purged Thursday were operated by Louis Farrakhan, a leader of the Nation of Islam who has made several anti-Semitic statements, along with other reported anti-Semites like Paul Nehlen, who has launched unsuccessful Congressional campaigns in the last two elections.
Ms Loomer and several others included in the Facebook ban have also been removed from other social media sites like Twitter.
Mr Jones, who runs the conspiracy theorist outlet called InfoWars, had several of his affiliated accounts shut down on the platform in October last year, a month after he and the outlet were permanently banned for violating behaviour policies.
A spokesperson for Facebook told CNN Business the accounts purged Thursday were deemed “dangerous” after being evaluated in a “lengthy process” that includes assessing “whether the person or organisation has ever called for violence against individuals based on race, ethnicity, or national origin; whether the person has been identified with a hateful ideology; whether they use hate speech or slurs in their about section on their social media profiles; and whether they have had pages or groups removed from Facebook for violating hate speech rules.”
Ms Loomer, whose account on Instagram — another platform owned by Facebook — remained active shortly after the ban against her was announced, urged her fans to follow her on Telegram.
“Instagram is going to ban me in minutes,” she wrote. “They want me dead. They don’t want me to exist. Soon I’ll be gone forever.”
Within minutes, her account no longer appeared on the platform.
Many other accounts were also remaining across Facebook’s platforms at press time, suggesting multiple news outlets had agreed to an embargo on the announcement revealing the bans. Mr Yiannopoulos also reportedly posted on his Instagram page before it was removed.
According to reports, users are still allowed to share information pertaining to the banned accounts except for Infowars and “events” meant to promote the banned figures.
Accounts that continue to share information from InfoWars will also face potential bans, The Atlantic reported, and all InfoWars content will be removed from Facebook’s platforms.
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