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Home WORLD Mark Zuckerberg intervened to soften Alex Jones Facebook ban: Report

Mark Zuckerberg intervened to soften Alex Jones Facebook ban: Report

  • Mark Zuckerberg stepped in to make Facebook’s 2019 ban on Alex Jones more lenient, BuzzFeed reports.
  • The ban was supposed to extend to posts supporting Jones, but Zuckerberg vetoed this part of it, sources said.
  • Current and former employees said the company has been deliberately lenient with right-wing figures.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Facebook’s banning of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was less strict than employees wanted it to be, according to a new report from BuzzFeed.

Facebook announced in May 2019 that it was banning a group of right-wing conspiracy theorists, including Jones. Sources told BuzzFeed that Facebook’s strategic response team recommended not only banning Jones himself, but removing any content that praised or expressed support for his ideas.

But once this recommendation was run up to Zuckerberg, he decided on a less comprehensive ban, effectively deviating from company policy, the sources said.

“Zuckerberg basically took the decision that he did not want to use this policy against Jones because he did not personally think he was a hate figure,” a former Facebook policy employee told BuzzFeed.

Jones has promoted a host of conspiracy theories, including that 9/11 was a government orchestrated false-flag operation. He has also said the Sandy Hook school shooting was a “hoax” and the children killed were actors. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Jones was among a group of right-wing figures under investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible ties to the Capitol riot on January 6.

Employees who had spent time constructing Facebook’s policies on hate speech and misinformation found Zuckerberg’s intervention frustrating, BuzzFeed reported.

“That was the first time I experienced having to create a new category of policy to fit what Zuckerberg wanted. It’s somewhat demoralizing when we have established a policy and it’s gone through rigorous cycles. Like, what the fuck is that for?” A former Facebook policy employee said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the report, but a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed that “Mark called for a more nuanced policy and enforcement strategy” on the Jones decision.

alex jones trump siege capitol

Alex Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addresses a crowd of pro-Trump protesters after they storm the grounds of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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