In statements provided to Big League Politics, Facebook revealed that their decision to designate Alex Jones a “hate figure” was made, in part, because Jones interviewed Gavin McInnes on his broadcast and allegedly posted the interviews to Facebook.
When explaining their decision to name Jones a “hate figure”, Facebook told Big League Politics the decision was partially inspired by Jones interviewing McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys and co-founded VICE News.
According to Facebook, Jones interviewed McInnes twice and expressed positive sentiments of support toward him, which Facebook says is against the rules. Facebook says users are allowed to refer to McInnes, but may not express support for him or depict him positively. This is the reason many mainstream media sources are allowed to show video featuring McInnes and post articles with his statements and Infowars was not.
It is not clear from Facebook’s statement how Jones could have posted his interviews to Facebook, considering all official Infowars pages and Jones’s public figure page were already banned at the time. As Facebook will now ban any user who posts links or videos featuring Alex Jones or his broadcasts, they could have been referring to individual users posting links to the McInnes interviews.
Because of his designation as a “hate figure”, Jones has been permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram, and users who post links or videos featuring Jones may now be banned from the platforms as well.
McInnes is currently suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating him and the Proud Boys as hateful individuals, which he believes led to them being banned from social media and major financial systems. While Facebook says they do not map to the SPLC to determine who is a “hate figure” and who is not, they also explicitly refused to condemn the SPLC in a statement to Big League Politics, even after the SPLC took credit for Facebook’s decision to ban Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopoulos.
The SPLC claimed last week that they put Facebook “under pressure” to ban the “dangerous” individuals from Facebook and Instagram, and heralded the move as “an important step for Facebook.”
In its article, the SPLC concluded that the organization “will continue to monitor how Facebook is enforcing its policies related to extremist content.”
Facebook replied to a request for a comment from Big League Politics, with a spokesperson writing in their statement that the company chooses to “speak with numerous organizations across the political spectrum to inform our policies,” and added that they use these conversations to “write and enforce our own policies” which they say are public knowledge.
The connection of McInnes to Jones in the statement provided by Facebook seems curious considering McInnes was first targeted by the SPLC.
It should also be noted that Facebook’s refusal to disavow the SPLC may represent a de facto endorsement of the culture of misogyny and racism present at the SPLC before multiple high ranking officials were fired or resigned.
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