Facebook gives Infowars’ Alex Jones a 30-day timeout

Alex Jones has been suspended from Facebook for 30 days.

Joan E. Solsman/Techhnews

Alex Jones, the founder, owner and star of conspiracy site Infowars has been suspended by Facebook — and may face harsher consequences.

The social networking giant said late Thursday it had banned the right-wing conspiracy theorist from using his account for the next 30 days after removing four videos from the network it said violated its community standards. A Facebook spokesperson also said if Jones or his fellow admins continue to break its rules, his page faces a permanent ban from the site.

The 30-day ban affects Alex Jones personally, not his fellow Infowars page admins, meaning his “The Alex Jones Channel” will stay on Facebook for now and his colleagues can continue to post unless they break the rules as well. A Facebook spokesperson said the entire channel is close to the threshold that would justify his page being permanently removed, though.

The move comes a day after YouTube removed some of Jones’ videos and suspended his ability to broadcast live on YouTube for 90 days. 

Facebook pointed out that it immediately removes content of a bullying nature that encourages physical harm or attacks someone based on their religious affiliation or gender identity.

“In this case, we received reports related to four different videos on the Pages that Infowars and Alex Jones maintain on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We reviewed the content against our Community Standards and determined that it violates. All four videos have been removed from Facebook.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what specific content was contained in the four videos removed by Facebook, but Techhnews notes that several of the exact same videos removed by YouTube are no longer up on Jones’ Facebook page either.

However, Facebook did not remove the video where Jones pretends to shoot special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and a spokesperson says Facebook stands by its decision that the Muelller video didn’t violate the company’s standards.

Jones has been widely criticized for promoting untrue, virulent hypotheses about tragic events like the 2001 terrorist attacks on World Trade Center in New York that killed nearly 3,000 people and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 26 students and staff. 

Online platforms like Facebook and Google-owned YouTube have been roundly criticized in recent months, as they seemingly fail to remove high-profile hoaxes and unfounded conspiracy theories about tragedies before they reach hundreds of thousands of people.

Earlier Thursday, Jones appeared to be trying to sidestep YouTube’s 90-day ban by broadcasting his livestreams on another channel.  Livestreams were being hosted Thursday afternoon by Ron Gibson, who describes his channel as part of Alex Jones’ Free Speech Systems network.

Though YouTube shut down a livestream at Ron Gibson’s primary YouTube channel, he merely set up a second YouTube channel and is pointing people there.

Infowars didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Disclosure: Sean Hollister’s wife works for Facebook as an internal video producer.

Techhnews’s Joan E. Solsman contributed to this report.

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