The platform has allowed hate speech to thrive in the meantime
In a sweeping move Facebook and Instagram have finally baned Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, and several other far-right figures long after they’d already been barred from other social media platforms. Jones – a far-right pundit and the face of Infowars – has been axed from Twitter, YouTube and patreon since August 2018 while while former Breitbart journalist Yiannopoulos was permanently suspended from Twitter as far back as July 2016 for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others”.
The demise of Yiannopoulos – which includes the loss of a $250,000 book deal for comments about child abuse on the edgelord stoner podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience – has been well documented. He declared bankruptcy not long after and was last seen auctioning his possessions on Facebook including an enormous self-portrait of himself framed in gold.
A spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement: “We’ve always banned individuals or organisations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
But social media giants have been wildly inconsistent regarding no-platforming, removing far-right figures seemingly at random. These figures, who have significantly large followings, have been allowed to incite hatred by Facebook and Instagram, a hotbed for conspiracy theories and misinformation, long after other platforms deemed their content to be dangerous and unacceptable.
The world of social technology appears to be undergoing somewhat of an existential crisis of late – Instagram is considering the removal of the 'likes' feature, while Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has suggested that he too would do away with 'likes' if he could start again. Facebook has announced wholesale redesigns, alongside promises to tighten data security following major leaks.