By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, email@example.com
Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who zealously pushed the heinous lie that the Sandy Hook massacre of elementary school students in Newtown, Connecticut was a staged hoax, has been banned from several social media platforms. What about the myriad of other purveyors of alleged hate speech who use social media as a megaphone?
Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and Apple have all removed material published by Jones. Facebook specifically removed four of his pages, including two featuring the controversial “Infowars” show, allegedly for violating hate speech and bullying policies. Facebook went into detail why the company removed Jones’ page in a blog post August 6.
Alex Jones, center right, had has Facebook pages taken down or violating the company’s hate speech and bullying policies. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
But, what about White supremacists groups operating in plain view on social media platforms, including Facebook?
According to the State of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, a “White supremacist extremists continue to leverage social media to communicate, organize, and spread propaganda, despite the efforts of mainstream social media companies to remove extremist content from their online platforms.” The agency released a report on how White Supremacists are using social media to attract adherents August 6. “Following the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, updated their approach to addressing hate speech on their platforms, resulting in the removal of White supremacist extremist accounts,” according to the report.
The original rally last August resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, an anti-racist protester, who was killed when a car driven by James Fields Jr., plowed into a crowd of protesters, injuring dozens of others. Fields has been indicted for first degree murder, however, the next “Unite the Right 2” rally is scheduled for Aug. 12 in Washington, D.C. According to the report published by the State of New Jersey, organizers of the Aug. 12 rally, “used Facebook Messenger to communicate with each other and organize the event. “The Facebook group chat–active since at least May–discussed security, equipment setup, first aid, and potential counter-protest groups.”
But, even as hate groups are being banished from many mainstream social media platforms, according to a report in Newsweek, some hatemongers are thriving on podcasts. According to Newsweek, a so-called White nationalist shock jock name Mike Peinovich has built a large and growing hate speech podcast platform.
“But, as tech companies like Twitter, PayPal and GoDaddy slowly attempt to purge their platforms of alt-right voices…Peinovich’s podcasting network has developed into arguably the loudest and most influential gathering place for White nationalists on the web. His website, TheRightStuff.biz, now hosts more than two dozen podcasts and draws close to 1.5 million views per month,” according to Newsweek. And the Southern Poverty Law Center says Peinovich’s platform is spawning new hate groups