Facebook announced Thursday that it banned a number of prominent accounts they deemed to be “dangerous.”
Facebook announced that it has banned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, former Paul Ryan challenger and avowed white nationalist Paul Nehlen, and far-right trolls like Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer, NPR reported.
Jones and his company InfoWars had already been banned by Facebook but have now been removed from Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
"We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," Facebook said in a statement to The Verge. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."
A Facebook spokesperson told CNN that the company went through a long process to determine a number of factors before deeming the accounts “dangerous.”
The factors include “whether the person or organization 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.”
Banned users complain of censorship:
Jones told The Washington Post that Facebook’s ban was “authoritarian,” adding that they never notified him they considered his posts “dangerous.”
Watson, who works for InfoWars, tweeted, "In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged."
Loomer wrote in an Instagram post (before her account was taken down) that she never violated any policies. "Looks like you guys will probably never hear from me again,” she said.
Critics of the far-right applaud ban:
Angelo Carusone, the president of the left-wing media watchdog Media Matters, told The Post that the white nationalist speech espoused by many of those banned by Facebook Thursday fueled violent acts like the mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques earlier this year.
"The timing is never an accident," he said. "The reality is, people are getting killed. There are mass shootings and mass murders that are clearly being connected to ideas like white genocide, which are fueling radicalization. The conditions have changed. When you have these massive catalyzing moments that are connected to real-life consequences, it puts pressure on Facebook and others to look in the mirror."