Alex Jones pops up on Facebook again, thwarting a ban on InfoWars
Alex Jones is back on Facebook, just days after the social network purged several of his pages for violating its policies on violence and hate speech.
All week, starting Monday, a new page on Facebook called InfoWars Stream was livestreaming Jones' show. The page accumulated 3,500 followers since opening on Monday, the same day that Facebook removed four other pages affiliated with Jones.
InfoWars Stream appears to be the new main page for Jones' Facebook presence, and has been able to livestream his daily show this week. Facebook and Jones did not respond to requests for comment.
It's unclear who opened the Facebook page for Jones, and attempts to make contact through the page did not produce a response.
The page could be operated by people not directly tied to Jones.
But InfoWars Stream is getting tens of thousands of views on its Alex Jones videos.
"You know what, every cloud has a silver lining," one Facebook commenter said on the new page. "If they hadn't shut InfoWars down on Facebook, I never would have known how much fun it is watching this live."
Jones is the firy conspiracist famous for calling school shootings hoaxes, like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Parents of victims have sued the livestreamer for defamation for calling them "crisis actors." Jones has also referred to Michelle Obama using a derogatory word for transgender people, and called transgender people "demons."
After livestreaming his show on digital platforms for years, Jones became the target of penalties and banishment from major internet companies over the past two weeks. Companies like Facebook and YouTube are under pressure to clean up their services and monitor for offensive content. However, the pressure works both ways: Masses of users are demanding they remove actors like Jones, while his supporters claim that that violates free speech.
At the end of July, YouTube issued a warning strike against Jones's channel for four videos that the company said violated its policies. At the time, the penalty only meant Jones couldn't stream his show live for 30 days, but he could still post pre-recorded videos.
This week, YouTube terminated the channel after it discovered he was circumventing the ban by livestreaming the show through other channels. The channel that was livestreaming the show during the ban was also terminated.
On Monday, Facebook followed YouTube with penalties against Jones and pages linked to him. The social network removed four offending videos, and gave Jones a 30-day ban from managing his pages. Facebook's punishment meant Jones couldn't post anything or engage in any activity on Facebook, like commenting and sharing. However, other managers tied to his pages could keep his presence alive and livestream his show.
Facebook's punishment was meant to target Jones specifically, not just his pages, so he couldn't open another account. His ability to use Facebook was on lockdown.
On Tuesday, Facebook piled on to that punishment after saying it reviewed more videos, and decided to unpublish his four main pages entirely. That meant all the content from Jones and InfoWars was removed. Facebook removed pages called Alex Jones, Alex Jones Channel, InfoWars and InfoWars Nightly News.
Jones has appeared to be energized by the all-out squeeze on his digital presence. He turned to channels that have yet to remove him, like Twitter and Snapchat, to promote his show.
He posted Snapchat messages using a "censored" graphic over his mouth in the video. The graphic was a Snapchat Lens, which anyone can create, and people put them on their own selfies. Jones's Lens looked like a piece of duct tape with "censored" scribbled on it, and it hovered over his mouth.
Snapchat does not have the same broadcasting features that Facebook and YouTube have, so only people who follow him receive his messages.
On Thursday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was facing pressure to shut down Jones, but maintained that the account hadn't violated policies.
On the audio front, Apple and Spotify have removed Jones' InfoWars podcasts. The InfoWars app is still available on Apple's App Store and Google Play app store, giving followers a direct line to Jones not impacted by the policies of social media platforms.