Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Instagram and Facebook Ban InfoWars and Far-Right Extremists

Taylor Lorenz, the Atlantic:

In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements.

Infowars is subject to the strictest ban. Facebook and Instagram will remove any content containing Infowars videos, radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content), and Facebook will also remove any groups set up to share Infowars content and events promoting any of the banned extremist figures, according to a company spokesperson. (Twitter, YouTube, and Apple have also banned Jones and Infowars.)

I see Facebook has found some courage — great.

This isn’t a ban on people who have argued for lower taxes or fewer government social programs. This is a ban on people who have repeatedly and consistently advocated for violence against historically persecuted groups of people. There is no reason why any social media service should feel compelled to provide a platform for viral bigotry.

Deplatforming works.

Update: Rob Price of Business Insider has a good skeptical take on this embargoed announcement:

There’s nothing unusual about media outlets agreeing to be pre-briefed on important news under “embargo”: Tech companies regularly make use of embargoes to coordinate coverage for product launches and the like. (Business Insider often agrees to embargoes from Facebook about news, though we weren’t given a heads up on this story.)

But these pre-briefings typically involve the launch of new products or business initiatives, not enforcement actions.

Thursday’s incident raises the question of why, if Facebook believed the targeted figures were promoting “hate and violence,” it took the time to organize a public relations opportunity around the bans — rather than taking action immediately.