After Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer were named “hate figures” and considered dangerous by Instagram and Facebook, Big League Politics was informed that users could still express their support for these individuals so long as they did not post videos featuring them or links to their broadcast.
Instagram user Alxthelord tested the extent of Instagram’s decision to unperson Watson, Yiannopoulos, and Loomer by posting an image featuring three photos he took with the conservative stars on his account after the ban. Within a day, his post featuring the “hate figures” was removed by Instagram, despite the platform’s statement to Big League Politics making clear this would not happen.
Big League Politics reached out to Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, for comment on Saturday night and the post was reinstated on Sunday morning. An Instagram spokesperson replied to our inquiry, stating that that the post did not violate their policies and would be restored.
“But it shouldn’t have taken that much trouble to get it restored,” said Alxthelord to Big League Politics on Twitter, “Also is if it does not violate their policies then why was it deleted?”
The user had voiced his frustration and disgust with Instagram’s decision to remove his post on Twitter, where it was eventually picked up by Infowars during one of its broadcasts, and came to Big League Politics’ attention.
I posted this picture of me with PJW, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer on Instagram yesterday.
Instagram took it down.
It is now against their “Community Guidelines” to post pictures with people who they have labeled “Dangerous”
This is terrifying. pic.twitter.com/XYZOKKUFxH
— ALX 🇺🇸🕴🏻 (@alx) May 3, 2019
This would appear to be yet another case of accidental content removal that seems to exclusively impact the right.
Last week we reported that Facebook and Instagram may now ban the account of any user who posts a link or video featuring Infowars or Alex Jones, and it would seem logical that this would apply to the other banned individuals as well.
However, the Instagram post only contained images of Alxthelord posing beside the new media celebrities.
Big League Politics contacted Facebook in an attempt to gain clarification after two different media outlets published conflicting reports about the future of Infowars’ content on the big tech platform. The Verge reported that users could continue to post content and commentary complimentary toward Infowars, while The Atlantic reported that any users posting Infowars content would see it removed and possibly face a ban.
In an attempt to clarify its stance, Facebook told Big League Politics that the platform will let users make posts complimentary about Infowars or reflecting them in a positive nature, but will not allow users to post links to Infowars videos, unless they are doing so to condemn the content.
This would seem to mean that simply linking to the Infowars website is now prohibited, as virtually every article includes videos featuring Jones, and a live stream or replay of the most recent episode of “The Alex Jones Show” is featured on the sidebar of the Infowars website.
It seems as though even Facebook and Instagram employees are grappling with the intricacies of this next level of big tech censorship.
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