Facebook today removed 22 pages associated with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as part of a previously announced update in which the company is tightening rules for administrators whose pages have been previously banned. The pages, which were among 89 removed by the social network, were created before Jones was banned in August for violations related to hate speech, bullying, and graphic violence.
Previously, Facebook would prevent administrators of banned pages from creating similar pages in the future. But the company found that some administrators have attempted to evade enforcement by repurposing pages that they had created before their bans in an effort to rebuild their online communities.
Today’s move marks the first time Facebook has removed pages in line with the updated policy. The company did not disclose all of the ways in which the freshly banned Jones pages resembled old pages, but said that they used similar titles. Jones is the creator of Infowars, which was kicked off platforms including Apple Podcasts, Twitter, and PayPal in addition to Facebook last summer.
Jones promulgated explosive conspiracy theories for years on social networks, relying on the algorithmic promotion of his most outrageous ideas to build an audience and sell them vitamin supplements. He relentlessly promoted lies, including that the Sandy Hook shooting was entirely staged by paid “crisis actors” and that global pedophilia rings are run by Hollywood and DC elites. His conspiracy theories have regularly been linked to the incitement of real-world violence.
Of the removed pages, Jones himself was not an administrator on all of them, Facebook said. But all of them had administrators who also served as administrators on the four pages that the company removed in August.
Despite the most recent bans, Jones’ Facebook profile remains active. Under the site’s community standards, he is still allowed to create new pages so long as they do not resemble the ones that Facebook banned.
Facebook’s enforcement on Tuesday resulted in the removal of pages based in the United States and Brazil, a spokeswoman said.
Update, 3:26 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect that Jones himself was not an administrator on all 22 removed pages.