Facebook on Tuesday removed 22 pages connected to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his fringe right-wing website InfoWars.
The move came as part of a broader effort by Facebook to enforce its recently updated recidivism policy. 89 pages in total were unpublished on Tuesday afternoon as part of the crackdown, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business.
“We use a broad set of signals to determine if a Page violates our recidivism policy and determined these Pages violated our policy for reasons including having similar titles to the Pages we unpublished and having the same admins,” the Facebook spokesperson said.
Facebook had removed four pages associated with Jones and InfoWars in August 2018, saying that the pages had violated its policies against hate speech, graphic violence, and bullying.
In late January, Facebook announced it had tightened its recidivism policy, aiming to prevent repeat offenders from using other pages they manage to continue behavior that violates the social media company’s rules.
“We’ve long prohibited people from creating new Pages, groups, events, or accounts that look similar to those we’ve previously removed for violating our Community Standards,” Facebook explained in a January 23 blog post. “However, we’ve seen people working to get around our enforcement by using existing Pages that they already manage for the same purpose as the Page we removed for violating our standards.”
“To address this gap, when we remove a Page or group for violating our policies, we may now also remove other Pages and Groups even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own,” Facebook’s announcement added.
The company said at the time it would begin “enforcing this policy in the weeks ahead.”
One of the pages managed by Jones that was unpublished Tuesday was a page called NewsWars, which amassed more than 30,000 followers before it was taken down.
The Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company had not removed Jones’ personal profile from the website.
“When we enforce our recidivism policy against Pages, the admins can still maintain their profiles on Facebook but are no longer able to create and use a Page akin to one we’ve removed,” the spokesperson explained.