Facebook removes four of Alex Jones’ videos, bans him for 30 days over content violations

Key Points
  • Jones violated Facebook’s content guidelines multiple times, resulting in him being banned from the site for 30 days.
  • Facebook's decision comes not long after Google-owned YouTube issued a strike against Jones and also removed four of his videos.
  • Facebook has come under heightened pressure over how it handles fake news and other forms of misinformation.
Alex Jones (C), an American radio host of InfoWars, author and conspiracy theorist.
Oli Scarff | Getty Images

Facebook removed four videos from the controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and slapped his personal profile with a 30-day ban after deeming that he violated its policies on bullying and hate speech.

The videos, which were posted on various pages maintained by Infowars and Alex Jones, went against Facebook's policies on community standards. Three of the four videos were reported yesterday, while a fourth video which was first flagged a month ago was found to be in violation upon re-review. Videos taken down count as "strikes," and after an undisclosed number Pages can be subject to removal. 

Jones violated Facebook's content guidelines multiple times, resulting in him being banned from the site for 30 days. He had received previous warnings from Facebook about violating its policies. 

"Our community standards make it clear that we prohibit content that encourages physical harm (bullying), or attacks someone based on their religious affiliation or gender identity (hate speech)," a spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement.

"We remove content that violates our standards as soon as we're aware of it. In this case, we received reports related to four different videos on the pages that Infowars and Alex Jones maintain on Facebook. We reviewed the content against our community standards and determined that it violates. All four videos have been removed from Facebook."

The social network's decision comes not long after Google-owned video sharing site YouTube issued a strike against him and also removed four of his videos. The strike meant that Jones would not be able to live stream for 90 days.

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Facebook has come under heightened pressure over how it handles fake news and other forms of misinformation as of late.

The company's market value on Thursday took a huge nosedive on concerns that its revenues would be further impacted by the scandal surrounding the sharing of personal data with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. In fact, Facebook is the first company in history to have lost more than $100 billion in market value in just one day.

The removal of Jones' videos by Facebook and YouTube signifies yet another example of how social media firms and other content platforms are continually grappling with the phenomenon of fake news.

Many fear that the prevalence of misinformation online and the way people are targeted by it has played a role in multiple elections, not least the U.K. vote to leave the European Union and the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

Jones-Mueller controversy

Facebook has also been under pressure to remove Jones from the platform altogether. The 30-day ban on the controversial webcaster likely won't satisfy the concerns of critics who say the social media firm has allowed him to masquerade lies and misinformation as news.

Jones, who is a supporter of President Donald Trump, earlier this week appeared to threaten Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has led an investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Jones claimed the former FBI chief covered up sex crimes, calling him a "monster" and "a demon I will take down." Those comments were streamed live on the right-wing personality's verified Facebook page.

Facebook, which has already said it won't pull Jones' page from the site, reportedly said Jones' comments did not violate its community guidelines and therefore did not warrant being taken down.

- Additional reporting by CNBC's Michelle Castillo