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After months of blowback about inadequately patrolling hate speech on the platforms it owns, Facebook announced plans on Thursday to permanently ban far-right personalities, including Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos and Paul Joseph Watson, as well as Jones’ Infowars publication.
Facebook and Instagram are also taking action against Louis Farrakhan and Paul Nehlen, who have been accused of anti-Semitism.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” the social network 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.”
Jones was previously banned from Facebook but had not been removed from Instagram.
Watson responded to his ban on Twitter. “Reports are true. I have been banned by Facebook,” he wrote. “Was given no reason. I broke none of their rules. In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged.”
Facebook bans individuals and organizations for a number of reasons, weighing such factors as whether they carry out hate crimes, whether they identify as a follower of hateful ideology and whether they use hate speech. The social network also factors in whether the account has had pages or groups removed from Facebook or accounts removed from Instagram.
When Facebook bans someone for these reasons, the company also prohibits others from praising or supporting them on the site. Facebook does not prohibit speech about people or accounts that have not been banned for violence or hate speech.
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