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By Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter cracks down on QAnon conspiracy group, bans 7,000 accounts
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Twitter announced that it would permanently ban accounts that violate the platform's policies while tweeting about QAnon, the conspiracy theory movement that asserts "deep state" actors are plotting against Donald Trump. In the last several weeks, about 7,000 accounts, which violated the firm's rules against spam, platform manipulation, and ban evasion, have been banned. In a suspension later rolled out this week, the circulation of roughly 150,000 additional accounts will be limited, as they'll stop appearing in recommendations, trends, and search.
Per online conspiracies, the term "deep state" refers to a combination of elites from intelligence, political, business, and entertainment sectors, and QAnon's theories assert that the "deep state" is a secret war with Trump.
Twitter stated that QAnon-related links will be blocked from being shared on the platform, and accounts associated with the conspiracy movement will no longer be promoted in search, conversations, or trending topics. The firm didn't elaborate on which forums or sites might be impacted.
Last year, QAnon was designated as a potential domestic extremist threat by the FBI when it issued a warning about "conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists."
Facebook bans Alex Jones and other extremists from its platforms
by João Carrasqueira
Facebook has removed a number of well-known far-right and extremist personalities from its social network as well as from Instagram, as reported by The Verge. Among those being removed from the platform is Alex Jones, who had already faced a temporary ban from Facebook last year, followed by a series of similar actions taken by other platforms.
Other names on the list include Milo Yiannopolous, another prominent figure in the far-right, Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam group, and Laura Loomer. As you might expect, the reasoning behind the bans has to do with the spread of hateful and violent content, the promotion of such violent acts against others, or claiming to belong to groups that promote or engage in said violent acts.
Without providing specifics for each of the bans, Facebook did mention some of the actions that led to today's decision. Alex Jones, for instance, appeared in a couple of videos alongside Gavin McInnes, who Facebook has previously identified as a hate figure. Yiannopolous also expressed support for McInnes, as well as Tommy Robinson, another personality designated as a hate figure by the social network. McInnes is, again, part of the reason for the ban of Laura Loomer, who also expressed support for Faith Goldy. Goldy had previously been banned from the platform for posting racist videos on her profile.
Social media, especially Facebook, have served as a platform to showcase and encourage some horrific acts, such as the Christchurch shooting earlier this year. As such, it's only natural that the company is taking actions to prevent the spread of violence on its platform.
By Jay Bonggolto
Alex Jones' Infowars app removed from Apple's App Store for hateful content
by Jay Bonggolto
Apple was among the tech giants that took action against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last month for breaking certain content policies. The company, in particular, stopped showing results for his podcasts in the iTunes library for hateful content, followed by Facebook's and YouTube's move to take down the main Infowars pages from their sites. Now, Apple has removed Jones' Infowars app from the App Store.
While Apple blocked access to Jones' podcasts in August, the Infowars app retained its listing on the App Store at that time, with the company saying it did not violate any rules on content, until now. Reuters reports that the Cupertino-based giant cited the app's violations against the company's rules on objectionable content including:
It's worth noting that the Infowars app is different from the podcasts in that the former contains the episodes broadcast during the current day while the latter shows all the previous episodes. That means Apple's content policies cover only a smaller set of content found in the app than in the podcasts.
Apple's latest move follows Twitter's decision to ban the accounts of Alex Jones and his Infowars website from the platform. In July, Facebook also suspended Jones' account for 30 days over some video content that the social media giant deemed to be in violation of its community standards.
Source: Reuters | Image via A Miner Detail
Social media firms “purge” Alex Jones content from their platforms
by Paul Hill
Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify have taken radical action against Alex Jones today, the conspiracy theorist behind InfoWars. Apple moved first to stop showing results for his podcasts – save one – from appearing in the iTunes library, then Facebook and YouTube decided to remove the main InfoWars pages from their sites. Lastly, Spotify removed Jones’ podcasts from its service too.
Facebook had previously suspended Alex Jones for 30 days for violating the website's rules.
Apple, speaking to BuzzFeed, said:
Facebook explained the reason it removed Jones’ content in a blog post, the specific reasons for the take downs included: glorifying violence, and dehumanising language to attack minorities. The pages removed by Facebook include: the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Nightly News Page, and the InfoWars page.
Rather than some shadowy Illuminati figures orchestrating the whole shut down of Alex Jones, activists had actually been lobbying tech platforms to cut ties with Alex Jones and InfoWars. At the end of July the group, Sleeping Giants, asked Apple why it continued to host content which broke the firm’s Terms of Service.
For its part, InfoWars criticised the decisions saying:
While the moves will be devastating to Jones’ network, he still has his own site to publish content and will now likely venture into other social networks which espouse free speech as we’ve seen others do in the past.
Source: BuzzFeed News | Image via A Miner Detail
Facebook suspends InfoWars host Alex Jones' account for 30 days
by Sharath Ravishankar
InfoWars' infamous host and popular right wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Facebook account has been suspended for 30 days because some of its video content was said to be violating community standards.
The suspension only affects Jones' own Facebook account and not that of InfoWars', which can continue to post videos of such nature until it faces the same sort of consequences. This move coming hot on the heels of the removal of the very same videos by YouTube from InfoWars' channel - the subscriber count for which exceeds 2.4 million - along with a 90-day ban preventing it from broadcasting live videos.
The Facebook community guidelines in question state that content that encourages physical harm to others based on their religious or gender identity is forbidden. According to a statement by a Facebook spokesperson to CNET,
Moreover, Facebook added that Jones' account was quite close to the point where it may face permanent deletion from the social network. There has been no comment yet from InfoWars regarding Facebook's actions so far, though their official response to the YouTube video removal was a result of the channel being "critical of liberalism".
These measures aren't coming out of left field, as both Facebook and YouTube have taken heat for quite some time over its inaction against Jones' harmful rhetoric where he, for instance, claims that the Sandy Hook school shooting - where 20 children were murdered - was staged by actors, and that 9/11 was planned by the U.S. Government.
Source: CNET| Image: A Miner Detail