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Selective Censorship: Facebook Bans Prominent Figures for Policy Violations

Facebook Inc. said it’s banning a number of controversial far-right figures, including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, for violating the social-media company’s policies on hate speech and promoting violence.

The company is also blocking religious leader Louis Farrakhan, who is known for sharing anti-Semitic views; Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who ran for Congress in 2018; and conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson. All of these individuals and accounts that represent them are also banned from photo-sharing app Instagram.

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

Facebook and Twitter have often banned conservative voices in a move the Silicon Valley only understands.

Why is there a rush to ban people who speak their minds freely?

BANNED: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, InfoWars’ Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos

Censorship of Kenyans

Over the past one year, many people have found themselves without their accounts.

In Kenya, top blogger, Safaricom and government critic Cyprian Nyakundi was banned in what Twitter said to be a violation of its terms of use, yet Cyprian has never changed the way he tweets since he joined the platform. What changed?

Other Kenyans were also banned yet all they ever did was promote services, goods and products on the platform.

What policy did they violate?

Back to the main story

On the main story, Facebook denies its decisions are based on politics, and says these individuals have repeatedly violated its policies around hate speech and promoting violence.

The Menlo Park, California-based company didn’t give details on what led to the bans this week, though a spokesperson said that Jones, Yiannopoulos and Loomer have all recently promoted Gavin McInnes, founder of the violence-prone far-right group the Proud Boys, whom Facebook banned in October.

Watson, a British radio host and YouTube personality, tweeted Thursday afternoon that U.S. President Donald Trump should take action against Facebook.

“Hopefully, other prominent conservatives will speak out about me being banned, knowing that they are next if we don’t pressure the Trump administration to take action,” he posted to his 950,000 Twitter followers. Watson also has 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube.

Yiannopoulos, the former editor of Brietbart News, and Loomer, a far-right activist who is also known for spreading conspiracy theories, have both previously been banned from Twitter Inc.’s social-media service. Twitter permanently blocked InfoWars and Jones in September for violating its harassment policies.

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