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YouTube-banned InfoWars videos are (still) good enough for Facebook

YouTube-banned InfoWars videos are (still) good enough for Facebook
[Photo: Flickr user Mark Taylor]

Earlier this week, YouTube removed four videos from the InfoWars page on the site. But they’re still up on Facebook, as we reported yesterday. And they’re still up.

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The videos contain the kind of bigoted spew we’re used to from Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist behind InfoWars, the show that got a huge boost when president-elect Donald Trump was interviewed by Jones. Both men’s careers have been propelled by the artful dissemination of media messages that incite and divide.

Here are the links to the videos on Facebook:

Shocking ‘Drag Tots’ Cartoon Sparks Outrage: This one is outright hate spew against trans people.

How To Prevent Liberalism – A Public Service Announcement: Here, Jones mocks a little kid who is shown being pushed to the ground by an adult male.

SHOCK REPORT: Learn How Islam Has Already Conquered Europe: This one features factual distortion and hate speech against Muslims as a group.

A fourth one, about French president Macron, has been removed from Facebook (the video, like “SHOCK REPORT” featured hate speech and misinformation about Muslims).

Facebook has faced harsh criticism in recent weeks for its policy of not removing false news and other reality-challenged content from its site, but merely reducing the number of times such posts show up in news feeds.

The social network is loathe to remove any content that doesn’t clearly violate its community guidelines because this reduces ad impressions and because Facebook doesn’t want the responsibility of weeding out disinformation on the site.

Retaining content on its site may be more important than ever now that it appears that Facebook is not finding new users in key markets. We learned that from Facebook’s disappointing earnings report yesterday. Here’s some commentary from Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin:

“As I’m fond of saying, up until very recently there was no single more guaranteed growth story on Wall St. than Facebook. Those who put up bear cases were laughed at and dismissed as loonies. But the reality was Facebook was going to hit a growth wall in new users at some point, but I don’t think anyone thought it would happen so soon. Couple that with the sentiment change in North American and Canadian consumers, Facebook’s most profitable regions, and we arrive in new territory for Facebook.”

https://twitter.com/CNBC/status/1022549143917682688

I asked Facebook via email why it did not remove the hateful videos that YouTube banned.  Facebook has responded, twice, but has not yet provided an answer to my question.

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