Far-right website promoted vaccine disinformation and mass arrests of the left, with more followers than Infowars
before it was banned.
Facebook on Sunday removed the page for Natural News, a far-right conspiracy outlet that had nearly 3 million followers. Facebook didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Natural News’ founder Mike Adams wrote on fellow-right wing conspiracy site Infowars that his site was “permanently banned” from posting. He told the gateway pundit, another far-right site, that the apparent ban is proof of a conspiracy against his website.
The Daily Beast reported on Saturday that Natural News and its founder had a history of pushing hoaxes and calling for mass arrests against the left. Before the ban, Natural News had more Facebook followers than Infowars at its peak. Natural News used the page to push its trademark combination of natural remedies and far-right conspiracy theories, as well as misinformation about vaccines.
Facebook has previously prohibited similar pages, as well as those for Infowars—a move criticized by the right as “censorship” by Silicon Valley.
In May, Facebook issued a new ban against Jones, plus bans against far-right figures like Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as anti-Semitie and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. (The bans additionally applied to Facebook-owned Instagram.)
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson said of the bans in May. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it’s what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
Facebook has cracked down on conspiracy and extremist content over the past year. In August, it prohibited Infowars and its founder Alex Jones, although Infowars seems to have used similar-sounding pages like “Newswars” to promote its content after the ban.
Facebook also began taking stronger actions against anti-vaccination hoaxes this year, banning anti-vax ads in March. Those ads previously targeted women in measles-stricken areas, The Daily Beast revealed.