Facebook said on Thursday (2 May) it has permanently banned several alt-right, anti-Semitic, and other controversial figures from their platform.
Among those banned include alt-right voices Milo Yiannopoulos and Infowars’ Alex Jones, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and Laura Loomer.
According to reports, Facebook said they banned these figures for being ‘dangerous’.
‘We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,’ the social media company said in a statement. ‘The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.’
As part of the ban, Facebook removed official accounts, fan pages, and groups affiliated with the individuals. One such group is Jones’ Infowars, a far-right conspiracy and fake news website.
Who are these figures?
Yiannopoulos is a gay, alt-right figure. He has previously been banned from Twitter and even countries like Australia. He has previously made comments about wanting journalists to be ‘gunned down’ and called transgender people mentally ill.
Farrakhan, meanwhile, has made numerous anti-Semitic remarks before. His ties to leadership of the Women’s March have led to splintering in the movement.
Another figure Facebook is banning is Paul Nehlen.
A self-described ‘pro-White Christian Candidate’, Nehlen unsuccessfully ran for Congress. Then Breitbart removed him last year for his ties to neo-Nazis and racist comments about Meghan Markle.
Praise for the decision
Many activists and civil rights leaders have long been calling for these types of figures to be removed from social media platforms. They have also been calling for a stricter crackdown on neo-Nazi content and more.
‘The reality is, people are getting killed. There are mass shootings and mass murders that are clearly being connected to ideas like white genocide, which are fueling radicalization,’ said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters.
‘The conditions have changed. When you have these massive catalyzing moments that are connected to real-life consequences, it puts pressure on Facebook and others to look in the mirror.’
None of the banned people have responded yet.