Facebook bans conspiracy theorists from Infowars and Nation of Islam

Far-right leaders Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan violated Facebook's violence and hate speech rules

Facebook+has+banned+Louis+Farrakhan+%28left%29%2C+Alex+Jones+%28right%29+and+others+from+its+platform+and+from+Instagram+saying+they+violated+its+ban+against+hate+and+violence.
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Facebook bans conspiracy theorists from Infowars and Nation of Islam

Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan (left), Alex Jones (right) and others from its platform and from Instagram saying they violated its ban against hate and violence.

Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan (left), Alex Jones (right) and others from its platform and from Instagram saying they violated its ban against hate and violence.

Associated Press

Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan (left), Alex Jones (right) and others from its platform and from Instagram saying they violated its ban against hate and violence.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan (left), Alex Jones (right) and others from its platform and from Instagram saying they violated its ban against hate and violence.

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Facebook’s ban on Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones from Infowars, right-wing pundits Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer on May 2 received mixed reactions concerning user rights and free speech.

Facebook stated in a statement about the ban: “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations 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.”

Maurice Fleshman, a senior majoring in communications and media, believes that if there is going to be any banning, it has to be on a broad scale.

“The only thing I want to say to Mr. Zuckerberg is just keep it one-hundred, man; you do both, not just one or the other. You can’t just go after right-wings and say, ‘Oh yeah, these guys are the only ones’—no, leftists do it too. You got to call a spade-to-spade [sic] and do it to both sides,” he told The DePaulia.

“If you do this, people are going to see actual, honest journalism. If we as a society can crack down and start booting out people who just want to spread misinformation, we’ll start getting more honest news.”

DePaul psychology major Kaitlyn Williams said Facebook could have taken a less drastic turn.

“I think Facebook should have the right to suspend, not completely ban users for their posts unless the users are promoting hate/verbally attacking a certain demographic of people and multiple people have reported them,” she said. “Free speech has a lot to do with it. While I do believe people should be able to speak their words freely and without fear, I also believe that words [can be] hate speech, specifically on a site where speech like that is prohibited or violates certain rules.”

“There can definitely be arguments made that it’s impeding the first amendment, but it is a slippery slope because if you’re going to say people have the right to express themselves, then it becomes slippery when that speech is hate speech and when that speech is attacking a certain group of people,” Williams said.

L.E. Denise, lead barista at DePaul University’s Brownstones café, said that the bans could alter the meaning and effectiveness of free speech and expression.

“I think that would be something that we need to step up and look into and fight back on just because if they limit us in that respect, then who knows what else they’re going to do as far as limiting our speech,” she said.

Denise said Facebook should be a positive platform for groups to network and thrive.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Despite Facebook being a private platform with the rights to de-platform accounts of choice, some openly expressed their disapproval of the bans.

“In my opinion, the Honorable Minister Farrakhan has only spoke truth and only spoke to what’s right and that scares a lot of these major corporations,” actor, rapper, producer and TV host Nick Cannon told news sources about Min. Louis Farrakhan’s Facebook and Instagram being banned.

Rapper and producer Snoop Dogg even condemned Facebook for its decision. “So Facebook and Instagram just banned Minister Louis Farrakhan,” he posted on his Instagram account. “I want to know for what. All he ever do was tell the truth. But y’all going to ban him now.”

Amid the negative reactions, Facebook said that the right decision was made.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook said in a statement.

“The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”