Facebook has suspended the profile of Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after removing four videos that the site says violated its community guidelines—but the suspension of Jones’ account does almost nothing to stop his reckless abuse of the platform.
Oliver Darcy at CNN reported that Facebook suspended the personal profile linked to Jones on Thursday. From Darcy’s report:
Jones had previously been sent a notice that he had violated Facebook’s policies and that his personal profile would be subject to a 30-day suspension the next time he did so, the spokesperson said.
The suspension means that Jones cannot post content to his personal profile, or use it to post content to the Alex Jones and InfoWars pages.
However, Jones’ personal profile remains online, as do the InfoWars and Alex Jones pages. The Facebook spokesperson said the pages were “close” to meeting the unspecified threshold of violations that would result in Facebook unpublishing the pages, but that for now the pages had not crossed that line.
But visitors of Alex Jones’ Facebook page saw numerous posts from this morning and a live broadcast of today’s transmission.
Tech reporting website Ars Technica explained how the ban Facebook gave Jones works in practice:
The ban affects Jones personally, meaning he cannot post to his various pages for the next 30 days. However, his colleagues who are Facebook admins for the Alex Jones Channel’s and InfoWars’ pages can continue to post content. Jones received a ban because his personal account already received a warning in the past.
Tech companies, including Facebook and YouTube, have repeatedly promised the public that they were working on reducing the manipulation of the platforms to spread misinformation. But in the obviously problematic case of Infowars, they seem to be treading lightly. At worst, suspending Jones’ personal account will result in minor annoyances for Jones and the Infowars staff. The actions taken by Facebook do virtually nothing to inhibit the staff at Infowars from using the platform to spread heinous conspiracy theories and toxic rhetoric, although they will probably be used by the Infowars staff to justify their frantic claims that “the globalists” are manipulating tech companies to destroy their network–claims that they’re already spreading.