Alex Jones and his conspiracy-theory peddling site InfoWars have been on the razor’s edge of being thrown off online platforms for a while, but this week has likely marked the closest Jones has gotten to being fully booted from social media. He’s received a strike from YouTube, and amid discussion about that strike, people kept noting Facebook had failed to act on a video Jones had posted threatening Robert Mueller. While that video didn’t prompt Facebook to action, apparently bringing up the controversy did.
CNN is reporting that Facebook has banned Jones from the site. However, the ban isn’t permanent and Jones will be back after serving out a 30-day suspension:
We received reports related to four different videos on the Pages that Infowars and Alex Jones maintain on Facebook,” the spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN. “We reviewed the content against our Community Standards and determined that it violates. All four videos have been removed from Facebook.”
The Facebook spokesperson said that three of the four videos were reported to Facebook Wednesday. The other video was reported a month ago, but was not taken down at the time, the spokesperson added. The spokesperson said the company made a mistake when it initially reviewed the video and corrected it upon reviewing the content again.
It appears that at first, Jones simply had to accept the strikes against InfoWars, but was still allowed to post, and then Facebook amended its approach and implemented the ban. Each video removed is a “strike” against the page, but unlike YouTube, Facebook has not publicly discussed how many strikes will result in permanent action against a page or a personality.
Similarly, the company will likely find itself explaining why the month-old video was initially cleared. Facebook posted a blog entry today explaining how its content team makes these decisions, but allowing genuinely vile speech to linger on the site has been a serious problem on the site for years now. With stock prices dropping, Facebook will have to do much more than just temporarily block people posting death threats to restore its users’ confidence.