After years of pressure to crack down on extremist content, Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and other extremists, saying they violated its ban against hate and violence, the AP reports. The company also banned right-wing leaders Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, and Laura Loomer, along with Jones' site, Infowars. The latest bans apply to both Facebook's main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts. Facebook says the newly banned accounts violated its policy against dangerous individuals and organizations. The company says it has "always banned" people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.
CNN describes Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan as "notorious for using anti-Semitic language" and explains that Nehlen is "an anti-Semite who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2016 and 2018." Jones and Infowars, of course, infamously peddle conspiracy theories such as claiming the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, and Watson is an editor at Infowars. Yiannopoulos is known for his racist, anti-women, and otherwise controversial comments, and Loomer's anti-Muslim comments once got her banned from Uber and Lyft. Asked to comment on the bans, Yiannopoulos emailed only "You're next." Jones reacted angrily Thursday during a live stream of his show on his Infowars website: "They didn't just ban me. They just defamed us. Why did Zuckerberg even do this?" Jones said, calling himself a victim of "racketeering" by "cartels." Watson, meanwhile, tweeted that he was not given a reason and that he "broke none of their rules." "Hopefully, other prominent conservatives will speak out about me being banned, knowing that they are next if we don't pressure the Trump administration to take action," he wrote. (Read more Facebook stories.)