Facebook Bans ‘Dangerous’ Individuals

1. Facebook Seeks to Ban Certain Individuals

Recently, Facebook has enacting their right to ban anyone from their social media platform that they deem hateful or violent. Recently they have banned Alex Jones (host of right-wing conspiracy website InfoWars), Louis Farrakhan, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, among others. Facebook says "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." 

 

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Image Credit: CNN

 

2. Why? 

Facebook cites these reasons for some of the recent bans:  

  1. Facebook said Alex Jones had hosted on his program Gavin McInnes, leader of the Proud Boys, whose members are known for racist, anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. McInnes has been designated a "hate figure" by Facebook 

  1. It said Alex Jones had hosted on his program Gavin McInnes, leader of the Proud Boys, whose members are known for racist, anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. McInnes has been designated a "hate figure" by Facebook 

  1. Laura Loomer also appeared with McInnes, and Facebook said she also praised another banned figure, Faith Goldy, a Canadian 

  1. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was banned for making several anti-Semitic remarks earlier this year 

 

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Image Credit: TheNextWeb

 

3. They Knew It Was Coming 

Alex Jones was broadcasting on Facebook Thursday talking about his impeding ban from the website. “I’m about to be banned," wrote Yiannopoulos to his followers on Instagram. "Please sign up for my mailing list before this account disappears." A spokesperson at Facebook said the ban will apply to all types of representation of the individuals on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook said it would remove pages, groups and accounts set up to represent them, and would not allow the promotion of events when it knows the banned individual is participating. However, Facebook has been criticized for giving forewarning of the bans, giving those affected a chance to redirect their followers to other services. 

 

 

These types of issues always bring up an interesting debate about freedom of speech and when and where it applies. Since Facebook and Instagram are not the US government, they are not obligated to uphold the US constitution in their dealings. Should companies be forced to recognize the freedom of speech, or is banning hateful and violent speech a moral obligation they have?