Facebook is continuing its efforts to control what you see on the platform and has removed 22 pages affiliated with Alex Jones and Infowars. This follows Facebook updating its policies to target pages or groups that haven’t broken any rules but are affiliated with those that have violated community guidelines.
According to Infowars, some of the removed pages were directly associated with Jones and Infowars such as the Facebook page for the War Room show. However, other pages were fan-made pages which are affiliated with Infowars.
The new Facebook policy which led to the removal of these pages reads as follows:
We’ve long prohibited people from creating new Pages, groups, events, or accounts that look similar to those we’ve previously removed for violating our Community Standards. However, we’ve seen people working to get around our enforcement by using existingPages that they already manage for the same purpose as the Page we removed for violating our standards.
To address this gap, when we remove a Page or group for violating our policies, we may now also remove other Pages and Groups even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own. To enforce this updated policy, we’ll look at a broad set of information, including whether the Page has the same people administering it, or has a similar name, to one we’re removing.
The last part is particularly worrying as it means simply using a name that’s similar to a rule-breaking account could be enough to have your page or group taken down.
Going forward, this means it’s likely to be impossible to consume or share Infowars content on Facebook. Most of Infowars’ Facebook pages are gone and now fan content could be taken down for simply mentioning Infowars or Alex Jones. Jones and Infowars have already been purged from most major online platforms, so going directly to the Infowars websites is now the only feasible way to stay up to date with Infowars content.
This guilt by association policy is very worrying and allows Facebook to clamp down even harder on content it doesn’t want you to see. Sadly, we’re likely to see lots of similar policy updates and algorithm changes going forward as the tech giants seem intent on controlling the Internet.
Earlier this month YouTube announced an algorithm change which is likely to favor mainstream media outlets and proposed removing the dislike button – a change which would make it easier for YouTube to push corporate content.
However, people are waking up to this social media censorship and pushing back. After Jack Dorsey appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast, it received heavy criticism for failing to address the issues of social media censorship. The response was so intense that Rogan is going to be doing a second podcast with Dorsey which will address these issues.