Facebook bans a fresh batch of mostly far-right figures

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Facebook just announced a new mini-purge of controversial accounts that violate the platform’s rules. In this instance, Facebook cited its policy against “dangerous individuals and organizations” to bring the ban hammer down on Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, Louis Farrakhan. The company also doubled down on its position toward Alex Jones and his popular conspiracy website Infowars.

While most figures in that cluster of names are far right media figures, Farrakhan is best known for leading the Nation of Islam and has faced ongoing criticism for anti-semitism. Nehlen ran against Paul Ryan in 2018, openly espousing white supremacist views.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch via email. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”

At the time of writing, some of the accounts banned today appeared to still be online and accessible, including an Instagram account belonging to Yiannopoulos. Some of the names on Facebook’s new ban list were previously banned on other mainstream platforms. Following the ban, Paul Watson leveraged his Twitter account to protest the company’s actions. “The media was tipped off an hour before Facebook banned me,” Watson tweeted. “They’re in cahoots.”

Facebook previously announced a ban for Jones in 2018 and again did a sweep for accounts linked to Jones in February. In spite of the Facebook ban, Jones was allowed to maintain his presence on Instagram due to the fact that less than 30% of his content violated the platform’s rules.

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