Infowars disappeared from Facebook after a high-profile confrontation in the summer between Silicon Valley and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. But another Facebook page that he manages, NewsWars, has taken its place – and many Jones fans have followed.
In the three months since Facebook removed four of Jones' pages on accusations of hate speech, his NewsWars page remained intact and increased in posts and page views. The videos that are hosted by the NewsWars Facebook page have reached 3.9 million since August and have almost reached the monthly viewership of Jones & # 39; s video & # 39; s on InfoWars and other pages & # 39; s which he managed before they were closed.
These calculations – made by the Columbia University researcher, Jonathan Albright using CrowdTangle, an analysis tool from Facebook – underline Jones' agility in navigating his battle with what he & # 39; Big Tech & # 39; calls. He claimed to be a victim of Internet censorship even as he uses technology platforms to keep his audience and the visibility of the nutritional supplements essential to his earnings.
The continued popularity of Jones' videos on Facebook, including those aimed at the migrant caravan in Mexico and claims that pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrat hoaxes, also underlines Silicon Valley's struggle to combat hateful language, even in cases in which technology companies have publicly released a single offender for penalties.
"It shows a huge failure in being able to control this stuff," said Albright, research director of Columbia's Tow Center for Digital Journalism. "
Jones did not respond to requests for comments by telephone, text message and e-mail.
A Facebook spokesperson commented that the company said in a blog post in August that it removed some, but not all, Jones content. The post also said that Facebook would assess accusations of misconduct against individual pages individually and would not necessarily forbid people to keep pages, even if the pages themselves were deleted.
Facebook, Apple, Spotify, Twitter and other companies removed the content of Jones in August, but in most cases gave little details on the reasons to act against Jones after years of accusations that he was guilty of hate speech and spread phony reports about disguised as news. For example, Jones claimed that the massive shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was a hoax and now slander lawsuits are being brought against by some of the families whose children were killed.
Facebook's blog post on August 6 said it initially removed video's from four pages, including the main InfoWars page, and blocked Jones for 30 days because of its role in managing those page & # 39; s. "Since then, we have received more information from the same page", Facebook wrote. "After review, we have included it for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and the use of the humanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims, and immigrants, and who violate our hate policies. "
But Facebook left NewsWars, which had started in December 2016, but produced far fewer messages and traffic than the InfoWars page. The NewsWars page popped up quickly with new images and videos, including clips from its online broadcast on InfoWars.com. The NewsWars Facebook page is also linked to a newswars.com website that contains numerous links to InfoWars. Jones announces the creation of NewsWars in an InfoWars blog post in August 2017.
Albright discovered that since this August the Facebook page of NewsWars has posted 52 photos, 1,400 links, 1,100 Facebook video & # 39; s and 13 videos from YouTube. The most popular video on the page was about the fate of white farmers in South Africa, a common theme for Jones.
The video claims that South Africa's struggle over land ownership is the product of a communist plot and that racism is not "the problem" in South Africa, despite huge inequalities in wealth, education and housing. That video, with Jones and directly from his InfoWars broadcast, was viewed 576,000 times on Facebook, according to Albright's calculations.
Another Facebook page, called InfoWars Stream, also contains images of Jones and clips from his shows, although ownership of the Facebook page is not clear. It has received 1.2 million video views since 1 August. There was no response to questions from The Washington Post by Facebook Messenger who was looking for comments.