Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been suspended from Facebook for 30 days after violating the site’s community guidelines. According to multiple publications, Jones will be unable to use his personal account. But, reports TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, Facebook pages associated with Jones’ name (including “Alex Jones” and “The Alex Jones Channel”) will remain active, with administrators for the pages able to post new content.
In addition to the 30-day personal suspension, four videos were removed from the Facebook page of Jones’ site InfoWars and the page served with its first warning. Facebook said that InfoWars’ videos violated its community guidelines by encouraging physical harm against others and attacking individuals for their religious affiliation and gender identity.
Alex Jones and InfoWars have become troubling tests for big tech platforms
Facebook’s actions follow the removal of four videos from Jones’ YouTube channel. Two videos contained hate speech against Muslims; a third against transgender people; and a fourth showed a man pushing a child to the ground with the headline “How to prevent liberalism.” It’s not clear if these videos are the same as those removed by Facebook.
TechCrunch reports that three of the videos removed by Facebook had been flagged by moderators for the first time this Wednesday, but a fourth was first highlighted in June and allowed to remain on the site. Citing a source at Facebook, TechCrunch says this last decision was “erroneous,” suggesting that the social media site’s moderation policies are not being followed consistently.
The suspension of Jones’ personal profile is the strongest rebuke the InfoWars creator has taken from Facebook. Earlier in the week, the social media company said a rant by Jones in which he accused special counsel Robert Mueller of raping children and mimed shooting the former FBI director did not violate its guidelines.
Facebook’s head of News Feed integrity, Tessa Lyons, later told reporters that Facebook believes it should limit the spread of hoax videos, but that it would only remove them completely when they created an imminent threat of harm. “We know people don’t want to see false information at the top of their News Feed,” said Lyons.