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Facebook removes 4 of Alex Jones’ videos and threatens him with suspension

The move comes days after YouTube also removed four of the conspiracy theorist's videos from its platform.

Conspiracy theorist and right-wing radio talk show host Alex Jones has been threatened with suspension from Facebook, spokespersons said this week. Jones had four videos removed from his official page because they violated Facebook community standards. (Photo credit: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)
Conspiracy theorist and right-wing radio talk show host Alex Jones has been threatened with suspension from Facebook, spokespersons said this week. Jones had four videos removed from his official page because they violated Facebook community standards. (Photo credit: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and right-wing founder of InfoWars, had four of his videos removed from Facebook this week and was threatened with suspension if he violates its community standards again.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company received reports related to four separate videos on Jones’ official page, understood to be the same ones YouTube removed from its website earlier in the week over similar issues.

“We received the content against our Community Standards and determined it violates [them],” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN. “All four videos have been removed from Facebook.”

It is unclear specifically what community standards Jones broke, although the spokesperson specified Facebook “[prohibits] content that encourages physical harm.” On Tuesday, Jones broadcast a diatribe against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in which it appeared he was threatening to shoot him and accused him of being a pedophile, miming a gun and shooting it repeatedly.

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Jones was told that he repeatedly violates Facebook’s policies and would be subjected to a 30-day ban if he did so again. However, the suspension only applies to Jones himself, meaning his verified InfoWars channel, which propagates many of the same conspiracy theories, will still be active on the platform.

Of the four videos that were removed by YouTube Wednesday, two reportedly contained hate speech against Muslims, one contained hate speech against transgender people, and one was described as bullying. YouTube gave Jones’ account a strike, which prevents him from live streaming for 90 days. Jones had previously been given another strike in February for claiming the survivors of the Parkland shooting were “crisis actors,” but that strike expired in June.

Jones is also currently in the middle of several lawsuits, which claim his repeated rhetoric about crisis actors — both after the Sandy Hook shooting and the Charlottesville attack — has led to survivors’ families being repeatedly harassed and sent death threats by Jones’ supporters. Jones has claimed that he was simply acting as a journalist — akin to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein — and that the lawsuit has the “chilling” potential to subject “reporters” to liability if they’re wrong.

Jones’ Facebook warnings come as the company grapples with how to police hate speech and fake news. On Tuesday, Buzzfeed News published a March letter from the company’s outbound information security officer, Alex Stamos, where he warned that the company needed to make major reforms to get users’ trust back.

“We need to be willing to pick sides when there are clear moral or humanitarian issues,” he said. “We need to be open, honest and transparent about our challenges and what we are doing to fix them.”

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Jones had been suspended from Facebook over the four videos. It has updated to reflect the fact that Jones was threatened with suspension if he violates Facebook’s community standards again.