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Instagram and parent company Facebook announced Thursday that they were banning conspiracist Alex Jones and other far-right users under the platforms' policies against dangerous individuals and organizations.
The Silicon Valley giant removed several accounts aligned with the far-right mediasphere: former Breitbart figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos; white nationalist personality Laura Loomer; former congressional candidate and anti-Semite Paul Nehlen; and Paul Joseph Watson, one of Jones’ proteges at the conspiracy site Infowars. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s account was also nixed.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson 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.”
Some accounts still remain online, and the spokesperson added that the platforms are in the process of removing them.
The mass purge comes during Facebook’s widening crackdown of fringe accounts that spread misinformation or traffic in hate. As evidence for banning these users, the company pointed to its dangerous individuals and organizations policy, which prohibits content that encourages violence, including terrorism and organized crime. But it did not give specific examples of how these accounts violated its rules, and the spokesperson added that the platform does not allow users who have signaled an alignment with organized hate groups.
Pages affiliated with Jones had previously been banned from Facebook, but he had continued to promote content from Infowars — the website where he posted conspiracy theories and pro-Trump stories — via Instagram. In late March, anti-Semitic imagery and comments posted to that account sparked consternation among Facebook employees. YouTube, Apple, and Roku have also banned Jones from their platforms over the past several months.
Facebook’s announcement Thursday said not only that users’ individual pages would be banned from both platforms but also that any representations of their digital profiles would also be erased going forward.
Cover image: In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo conspiracy theorist Alex Jones speaks outside of the Dirksen building of Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)