On Friday, Facebook placed a 30-day ban on the profile of Alex Jones, the host and figurehead of conspiracy website Infowars, the social media giant confirmed. The news comes after Facebook has faced a firestorm over disinformation on its platform, including Jones’ own content and Holocaust deniers.
“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],” a Facebook spokesperson told Motherboard in an email.
“We remove content that violates our standards as soon as we're aware of it. In this case, we received reports related to four different videos on the Pages that Infowars and Alex Jones maintain on Facebook. We reviewed the content against our Community Standards and determined that it violates. All four videos have been removed from Facebook,” the spokesperson added.
Facebook told Motherboard in an email that Jones was already given a warning that he had already violated the site’s terms several times, and that he would face a 30-day ban the next time he did.
Facebook does not publish the specific thresholds that a user has to cross before facing a suspension, but Motherboard previously published some related details concerning hate speech and other types of content based on leaked documents.
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Moderators are told to remove a Page—Facebook’s feature for bands, businesses, or public figures—if 30 percent or over of the content posted by other people within 90 days violates Facebook’s policies, or if the Page administrator receives 5 “strikes” within 90 days.
However, at the time of writing, Jones’ personal profile and Page remain online—Facebook said Jones is simply not able to post content—suggesting that particular threshold has not yet been met. Facebook also said he can’t send messages, comments, or post on Facebook more generally.
Other Page administrators can continue to post on the Page, however—the Page posted content around one hour ago.
As for the videos, Facebook said that three of the videos were first reported yesterday, and that the social media giant took them down after seeing they violated the site’s standards. However the fourth video was first flagged over a month ago, but was originally, and mistakenly, allowed to remain online. Content removals, like these, count as “strikes” against a Page, as well as its administrator, Facebook added.
On Thursday, YouTube suspended Jones as well, theoretically meaning he is unable to use the platform to broadcast live for 90 days. However, he did stream on another channel to bypass the ban, instead.
YouTube is more explicit with its thresholds, saying that creators can receive disciplinary action after a third strike.