Facebook and subsidiary Instagram have often been accused of not doing enough to fight the spread of misinformation. Company founder, Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify before both the Senate and the House in April of last year.
Today, the company is announcing their strictest steps yet to combat the spread of malicious and false news, as well as hate. Facebook and Instagram have banned a number of figures associated with hate speech, misinformation and extremism including Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.
The full list of banned accounts features, “Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Louis Farrakhan.”
A Facebook spokesperson told The Atlantic:
“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.”
The ban comes on the heels of a Twitter thread by disinformation expert, Josh Russell. Russell argued, “While Facebook and Twitter have improved somewhat, Instagram still remains full of conspiracy theorist, hate speech, and Russian propaganda/disinformation.
I want to circle back around and keep mentioning this, while facebook and twitter have improved somewhat #Instagram still remains full of conspiracy theorist, hate speech, and russian propaganda/disinformation.
— Josh Russell (@josh_emerson) May 2, 2019
Facebook recently announced a redesign of their platform. The redesign intends to offer users more personal security. NBC’s Brandy Zadrozney said of the change, “(Facebook) “using people’s understandable anger over the company playing fast and loose with their personal data to push a ‘privacy’ focus which is just a fancy way to hide the other big problem on the platform and evade journalists and watchdogs.There are very nice groups… but some are also very very dangerous and make the world worse.”