Facebook declared Thursday that it plans to ban a bunch of far-right media personalities, as well as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, from its social network and Instagram.
The ban affects Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos, and alternative far-right figures and also the conspiracy and far-right politics website Infowars.
The social media giant antecedently removed four pages belonging to Jones in August 2018 because of violations of the platform’s community standards.
Despite his initial ban on Facebook, Jones had remained active on Instagram where his account recently pushed a conspiracy theory regarding former vice president Joe Biden. It was one amongst the most-engaged posts across both social networks within the past few days.
“We’ve continuously prohibited people or organizations that promote or have interaction in violence and hate, no matter ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it’s what led us to our call to get rid of these accounts these days,” a Facebook representative said in a statement.
Jones, on his website Thursday, called Facebook’s call a “purge” and broadcast a monologue targeted on former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The bans come as Facebook has pledged to do more to eliminate hate speech on its platform. The corporate recently prohibited white nationalism and white supremacy on the platform.
Facebook has additionally faced calls to ban Farrakhan, who has been criticized for creating anti-Semitic remarks in his speeches.
While Facebook and alternative technology corporations including Twitter and Google have taken a more aggressive stance against hate speech in recent months, they have additionally had to tread lightly thanks to growing outcry over what conservatives see as political bias within the California-based corporations.
Republicans in Congress are among those who have pressured the businesses over their treatment of conservative commentators. At a hearing last month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said there could be penalties under antitrust law if the businesses abuse their power to censor speech online.
It was not clear however Congress would react to Facebook’s most up-to-date action. Cruz’s office didn’t instantly reply to a request for comment.
Civil rights organizations have pushed the businesses to improve their enforcement against hate speech, saying that Silicon Valley have to pick a side after a series of violent racial conflicts, as well as a 2017 rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, at which a counter protester was killed.
Rashad Robinson, president of Color of change, which advocates for civil rights, said Facebook’s latest bans weren’t regarding alleged anti-conservative bias, which he said doesn’t exist.
“These individuals are white supremacists who unfold dangerous and untrue conspiracies that incite violence against Black communities, and have done therefore without consequence for years,” Robinson said on Twitter.