Infowars has disappeared after a spectacular summer showdown between Silicon Valley and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Facebook. But another Facebook page, NewsWars, has taken its place – and Jones & # 39; many fans have followed suit.
In the three months since Facebook removed four pages from Jones for alleged hate speech, his NewsWars page has remained intact and has increased in posts and page views. The videos hosted on the NewsWars Facebook page had reached 3.9 million since August, reaching Jones & # 39; s monthly viewership on InfoWars and other sites he controlled before closing.
These calculations, which Columbia University social media researcher Jonathan Albright has done with CrowdTangle, a Facebook analysis tool, underscore Jones's agility in fighting what he calls "big tech." He even claims to be a victim of "Internet censorship." He uses technology platforms to help his audience and the visibility of the nutritional supplement business, which is crucial to his income.
The continued popularity of Jones 'videos on Facebook, including those focused on the migrants' caravan, and the claim that tube bombs targeted at prominent Democrats were hoaxes also underscore Silicon Valley's ambition to combat hate speech, even though Tech Companies have publicly discussed offenders for punishment.
"It shows a big mistake in controlling these things," said Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism in Columbia. "
Jones did not respond to requests for telephone, SMS and e-mail.
A Facebook spokesperson pointed out that the company said in a blog post in August that it was removing some, but not all, of Jones's content. The Post also said that Facebook judges claims of misconduct on a per-page basis and would not necessarily ban people taking care of pages, even if the pages themselves were removed.
Facebook, Apple, Spotify, Twitter, and other companies cleared out Jones's content in August, but in most cases gave little details about the reasons Jones had acted at that time, after claiming for years that he had hated speech and fake reports masked as messages. Jones, for example, claimed that the mass shooting of Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was a joke and is now being confronted with defamation lawsuits brought by some families whose children have been killed.
Facebook's blog post on August 6 said that videos were initially removed from four pages, including InfoWars' main page, and Jones was suspended for 30 days for his role in managing these pages. "Since then, more content from the same pages has been reported to us," wrote Facebook. "After reviewing, we have noted it for the glorification of violence that violates our graphic violence policy and the use of dehumanizing language to describe transgender people, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our policy of hate speech . "
However, Facebook gave up NewsWars, which started in December 2016, but generated far fewer posts and traffic than the InfoWars site. The NewsWars site soon grew with new images and videos, including clips from its online broadcast on InfoWars.com. The NewsWars Facebook page also links to a website from newswars.com, which has numerous links to InfoWars. Jones announces the creation of NewsWars in an InfoWars blog post in August 2017.
Albright found that the NewsWars Facebook page has posted 52 photos, 1,400 links, 1,100 Facebook videos and 13 YouTube videos since this August. The most popular video on the page covered the plight of white farmers in South Africa, a common theme for Jones.
The video claims that South Africa's land-based struggles are the product of a communist conspiracy, and that racism in South Africa is not a "problem" despite massive inequalities in wealth, education and housing. This video with Jones, taken directly from his InfoWars show, was viewed 576,000 times on Facebook, according to Albright calculations.
Another Facebook page, called InfoWars Stream, also contains pictures of Jones and clips from his shows, though owning the Facebook page is not clear. Since August 1, it has received 1.2 million video views. There was no answer to the questions sent by Facebook Messenger's Washington Post.