Why Did Facebook Ban Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones & Others?

Why Did Facebook Ban Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones & Others?
Source: Kmeron for LeWeb13 Conference/Wikimedia Commons.

Facebook recently announced that it was banned a considerable amount of high-profile users and accounts from the platform. Perhaps some of the most notable of those who have been removed from the social media platform are Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and several others. On top of this, the company has also announced the banning of accounts associated with these individuals.

One of the most notable of these includes Alex Jones’ InfoWars, which has been known for spreading a significant amount of conspiracy theories over the years. The accounts were also banned from Instagram, a subsidiary of the social media giant. The move by Facebook also comes months after Jones and Infowars were banned from Twitter; Milo Yiannopoulos and a few other figures are also in the same situation. However, this has led many people to wonder why did Facebook ban Milo Yiannopoulos and other right-wing figures?

In a statement following the move, Facebook has explained its decision by noting the individuals, and associated pages violated a number of the platform’s regulations. It also follows weeks of criticism, with many saying the move should have been made alongside Twitter. That being said, in a statement, a spokesperson spoke of the decision, saying:

We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.

Why Was Alex Jones Banned From Facebook?

For Jones, who founded and runs the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars, the rationale for the banning may be quite obvious. Over the past few years, he’s developed a reputation for being anti-semitic; he’s also popularized a number of conspiracy theories surrounding mass shootings across the United States.

Many of these have also been focused on some high-profile school shootings in recent years; Jones has repeatedly been known to call the victims “crisis actors.” Furthermore, he’s repeatedly suggested that they were false flag operations designed to encourage greater gun control.

It’s also been pointed out by The Atlantic‘s Taylor Lorenz that InfoWars make have gotten the worst of the bans. As she notes:

Any account that shares InfoWars content will see it removed; unless the post is explicitly condemning InfoWars. Facebook and Instagram will remove any content containing InfoWars videos, radio segments, or articles, (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content) and Facebook will also remove any groups set up to share InfoWars content and events promoting any of the banned extremist figures, according to a company spokesperson.”

Why Did Facebook Ban Milo Yiannopoulos?

Milo Yiannopoulos has frequently been seen as a controversial and divisive figure in many areas. However, some of the most significant blowbacks against the right-wing provocateur came about when he seemingly defended pedophilia on Joe Rogan’s podcast (you can watch the clip below). Since then, Yiannopoulos has been banned for Twitter and had a book deal scrapped at the last minute. He also had to resign from his position at Breitbart following the controversy. He’s also been know to target minority groups regularly throughout his work.

What Other Right-Wing Personalities Did Facebook Ban?

On top of Alex Jones, and Milo Yiannopoulos, there were a number of other notable bans. That being said, it’s also bee noted that they violate Facebook’s Dangerous Individuals & Organisations standards. However, it should be noted that each had their own reasons for receiving the ban. Some of the more prominent of these include:

  • Paul Joseph Watson, a right-wing YouTube personality;
  • Laura Loomer, an alt-right activist who has tried to avoid the label (Loomer was also banned from Twitter);
  • Paul Nehlen, a high-profile white supremacist; &
  • Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, among others.

Facebook isn’t the only technology company cracking down on users. Apple has also begun removing apps and games that violate their terms of service, which has affected a significant amount of indie game developers.