We don’t necessarily quantify InfoWars as being part of the “conservative” internet blogosphere (and frankly, we’re not sure Alex Jones himself would want us to), but it’s interesting that Facebook would pick NOW to take action against the site’s content. At a time when Mark Zuckerberg’s company should be doing everything it can to fend off credible accusations of liberal bias, why make waves against a content creator who, at the very least, is popular among a segment of the Trump-supporting userbase?
The answer, of course, is that the leftist media has been pitching a fit about InfoWars over the past couple of weeks, and Facebook is finally bowing to the pressure.
Last week, the site suspended Jones for 30 days, claiming he violated Facebook’s community standards regarding “bullying” and hate speech.
“Our Community Standards make it clear that we prohibit content that encourages physical harm, or attacks someone based on their religious affiliation or gender identity,” a Facebook spokesman said in regards to the suspension.
Strangely, the ban is centered on Jones himself and not his site, which means InfoWars content can still be posted and viewed on Facebook while its owner remains unwelcome. This strikes us as Facebook trying to have their cake and eat it, too; they can show off for their liberal critics and say, Hey look, we did something. At the same time, they don’t have to forgo the millions of pageviews and advertising revenue that they accrue from having InfoWars on the site. And since this week’s quarterly earnings report, we really can’t blame Facebook if they’re too afraid to turn off millions of users all at once. They need to be holding onto every dime they can get.
According to some reports, however, Facebook may be planning to sever ties with the controversial conspiracy theorist altogether.
CNBC reports: “Several Facebook pages tied to Alex Jones, including the official pages for Infowars and Alex Jones himself, are close to being removed from the platform for violating its community standards multiple times, a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.”
Say what you will about Jones, he isn’t one to take this kind of censorship lying down. If Facebook wanted to make an online enemy, they could have hardly chosen a worse one. Zuckerberg’s empire is teetering, and it makes no sense to use this of all occasions to turn InfoWars into a powerful foe. We get that Facebook has the right to police their content in any way they deem fit, but if you’re going to express the ideals of free speech, then you’d better be ready to live by them.
In any case, this could turn into a feud for the ages. Stay tuned.