In an effort to mitigate hate speech and violence, Facebook has announced a ban on numerous “far-right” figureheads such as Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer. The decision came down after Facebook was subject to criticism about how the social media site has slowly become a cesspool for toxic content and rhetoric.
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A Facebook representative told Bloomberg in a statement: “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” the representative said Thursday. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
In addition to the commentators above being banned, The Daily Mail reported that any account that shares content from the aforementioned banned figureheads could have their accounts banned as well.
Facebook has denied that any of this has anything to do with politics or Donald Trump. All fan pages that share or associate themselves with Jones and his InfoWar program have been banned. In an effort to cut down on the rise of white nationalism, Facebook will also no longer allow people to post: “I am a proud white nationalist,” a Facebook representative explained.
Cristina López, the deputy director for extremism at Media Matters for America, told The Guardian that she commends the effort the social media giant is putting forth.
“This is a step in the right direction, and it shows exactly why Facebook needs to be thinking about enforcement in a more holistic way,” she said. “Facebook can help curb the spread of extremism, hate and bigotry that flourished on its platforms if it remains open to reforming enforcement measures.”
Louis Farrakhan, a religious leader who has commonly shared anti-Semitic viewpoints, and a self-proclaimed white nationalist who ran for Congress last year, Paul Nehlen, have both been banned from the platform as well, The Atlantic reported.
Facebook still has a lot of work to do on the site, though. Anti-vaccine rhetoric has run rampant on the platform, and users have asked Facebook to do something about the spreading of that misinformation as well.
This will surely be a point of contention for the site in the future as they begin enforcing these new guidelines.