Last week the world was shocked when conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was banned from multiple platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Apple, the ban itself is very controversial as the founder of InfoWars.com Alex Jones has millions of followers on all his social media platforms.
In a report by the New York Times is says Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was personally engaged in the decision to ban Jones and his Facebook pages.
The situation was volatile enough that Mr. Zuckerberg got personally engaged, according to two people involved in Facebook’s handling of the accounts. He discussed Infowars at length with other executives, and mused privately about whether Mr. Jones — who once called Mr. Zuckerberg a “genetic-engineered psychopath” in a video — was purposefully trying to get kicked off the platform to gain attention, they said.
Mr. Zuckerberg, an engineer by training and temperament, has always preferred narrow process decisions to broad, subjective judgments. His evaluation of Infowars took the form of a series of technical policy questions. They included whether the mass-reporting of Infowars posts constituted coordinated “brigading,” a tactic common in online harassment campaigns. Executives also debated whether Mr. Jones should receive a “strike” for each post containing hate speech (which would lead to removing his pages as well as the individual posts) or a single, collective strike (which would remove the posts, but leave his pages up).
This continues to be a huge debate as Twitter opposes mainstream tech giants and says they won’t ban Alex Jones from their platform because he didn’t break the rules.
“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.”
We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.
— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
Was Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to ban Alex Jones three months before the midterms an attempt to sway voters? Was it political? Or did Jones really break the ruled on Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Spotify all on the same day? Questions still remain and other social networks are rising up to promote the value of free speech and how important it is, some names include gab.ai and frontpagelink.com.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.