Facebook Purges ‘Dangerous’ Farrakhan, Controversial Activists

May 3rd, 2019 10:14 AM

Instagram and its parent company Facebook have purged several what it called “extremist” figures ranging from controversial Jewish activist Laura Loomer to anti-Semitic hate preacher Rev. Louis Farrakhan. 

In the latest round of tech bans, Facebook and Instagram have deplatformed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Loomer and Farrakhan. According to The Atlantic, the ban on Infowars is the strictest, in that they will remove “any content containing Infowars videos, radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content).” In addition, any groups set up to share Infowars content on Facebook or Instagram will also be removed 

In a statement to WIRED, one Facebook spokesperson claimed that,

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology."

WIRED magazine observed that many media organizations were informed hours before the purge took place.  Stories by outlets such as “CNN, the Verge, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post lauded Facebook for scrubbing the accounts of inflammatory far-right online figureheads.” However, it criticized Facebook because a few of them “still had control of their Instagram accounts for nearly an hour after the bans were announced.” 

Loomer and Yiannopoulos both “took advantage of the advance notice, posting photos to Instagram about being banned from the platform that included captions directing their fans to follow them elsewhere.”

Loomer was one of the early examples of big tech deplatforming and depersoning on multiple platforms. After she was removed from the payment processing platform PayPal she lamented, “I am banned everywhere. I am banned on Twitter for exposing Jew hatred, I am banned by Uber an [sic] Lyft, I am banned from Gofundme, I am banned from Venmo, I am banned from Uber Eats.”