Instagram is reportedly considering whether to ban Alex Jones
Executives at Facebook, which owns Instagram, have discussed labeling Jones a "hate figure," internal emails obtained by Business Insider show.
Queenie WongFormer Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
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Business Insider, citing internal Facebook emails, reported Thursday that Instagram is considering whether to designate Jones a "hate figure," which would involve barring him from the photo-sharing site.
The discussion came after Jones, who founded conspiracy site InfoWars, posted an image of a painting by US artist Mear One that some
executives considered anti-Semitic. The post, which has been pulled down, showed an image of what appears to be "caricatures of six Jewish men sitting around a Monopoly board, which is being held up by four subservient figures, shorn of their clothes," according to Business Insider, which reported earlier about the painting.
Initially, Facebook's risk and response team said the post did not violate the social network's rules, but then the company's UK executives argued that the post was anti-Semitic, the report said.
"This image is widely acknowledged to be anti-Semitic and is a famous image in the UK due to public controversy around it. If we go back and say it does not violate we will be in for a lot [of] criticism," a member of the policy team said in an email obtained by Business Insider, which did not name the executives.
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The artist who painted Mear One has pushed back against the idea that the painting is anti-Semitic.
CNET has not been able to independently verify the contents of the emails, but a Facebook spokesperson confirmed they are looking into Jones' accounts.
"As this email correspondence shows, we continually monitor and review whether people are involved in organized hate on our platform," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We've already taken down InfoWars' Facebook Page, but Alex Jones has a network of presences online and we are evaluating how to appropriately enforce our policies against him as an individual. We're committed to being diligent and will share an update when that process has run its course."
Facebook, which barred white nationalist and white separatist content this week, has been under pressure to combat hate speech. The company suspended Jones' personal profile in July and has been pulling down pages linked to Jones.
Jones, contacted through InfoWars' site, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.