Facebook has removed a string of far-right and anti-Semitic leaders from its platform, saying their accounts violated its policies against dangerous individuals and organizations.
Among those banned from the platform are Alex Jones and his site controversial site Infowars, right-wing personalities Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, as well as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who ran for Congress in 2018.
These figures are now banned from creating accounts on both Instagram and Facebook, but users will still be able to publish posts supporting their viewpoints.
The crackdown comes as the social media giant has been criticized for its failure to curb the spread of misinformation, as well as hateful and extremist content on the site.
Jones, Yiannopoulos and Loomer had recently promoted Gavin McInnes, founder of far-right group the Proud Boys, who is banned from Facebook.
Facebook has previously removed content from these figures when it violated the company’s policies around hate speech.
Prior to today’s announcement, Jones and Infowars had been banned from creating accounts or distributing content on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Apple’s App Store.
But the latest move represents a step up in action taken against Jones, who has suggested on his Infowars shows that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, among other sensational claims.
Facebook will also take down any pages, groups and accounts that are created to represent them, as well as events promoting them where the far-right figures are participating.
Facebook officials say they conduct a lengthy process to determine which people or groups it considers to have a violent or hateful mission.
Among the factors include whether or not the person has called for or directly carried out acts of violence against people based on characteristics like race, ethnicity or national origin.
The firm also considers whether they’re a self-described or identified follower of a hateful ideology, use hate speech or slurs in their bio on Facebook, Instagram or other social sites, and whether they’ve had pages, groups and accounts removed from Facebook or Instagram for violating its hate speech policies.
Facebook’s policies around dangerous content are further detailed on its site.
The company first signaled a broader crackdown on these types of content when, in March, it banned white nationalism and white separatist posts from its platform.
As part of the sweeping crackdown, Facebook said it would no longer allow posts that include statements like ‘I am a proud white nationalist’ and ‘Immigration is tearing this country apart; white separatism is the only answer’ to remain on its site.