A day after Facebook said sharing content from conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website was part of its commitment to free expression, the social media giant banned Jones for 30 days, saying his content violated its rules.
“We received reports related to four different videos on the pages that Infowars and Alex Jones maintain on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “We reviewed the content against our Community Standards and determined that it violates. All four videos have been removed from Facebook.”
CNN said that Facebook did not identify which videos were removed, but that it was told that Facebook’s community standards “make it clear that we prohibit content that encourages physical harm, or attacks someone based on their religious affiliation or gender identity.”
Jones had been warned previously that he had been violating Facebook policies and that the next one would trigger a 30-day suspension of his personal account. That means he cannot post to his own page or to Infowars, but that the two pagers remain up on Facebook.
CNBC reported that Facebook is nearing its limit with Jones and that the pages he operates are approaching the threshold of strikes against them that would result in the pages being yanked from Facebook altogether.
CNN reported that after it initially published its story, Jones issued a statement in which he said CNN sought to ban his free speech and said it was in the midst of a “campaign against competing news organizations and the First Amendment.”
“We apply our policies consistently according to the content in the videos, regardless of the speaker or the channel,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a Wednesday statement. “We also have a clear three strikes policy and we terminate channels when they receive three strikes in three months.”
“YouTube has removed four Infowars videos that were critical of liberalism,” Jones said in a statement in response, the New York Post reported.
The action came after Fidji Simo, Facebook’s vice president of video, was asked about Infowars and Fox News during a Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills.
“To be totally transparent, I find Infowars to be absolutely atrocious,” Simo said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “That being said, we have the hard job of balancing freedom of expression and safety.”
Simo said that Facebook focuses on throttling distribution of what it believes to be untrue.
“So the way we navigate that is we think there’s a pretty big difference between what is allowed on Facebook and what gets distribution. So what we’re trying to do is make it so that if you are saying something that’s untrue on Facebook — you’re allowed to say it as long as you’re an authentic person and you adhere to our community standards — but we’re trying to make it so it doesn’t get that much distribution … We don’t always get it right, as you can imagine, it’s very complicated, but that’s sort of our principle for dealing with information,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.