facebook ceo mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. AP Photo/Tony Avelar


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  • Facebook is barring a bunch of far-right figures from its apps, including Alex Jones.
  • But the company briefed journalists and made the announcement before the bans came into effect, giving the figures time to respond.
  • The incident raises questions as to why Facebook decided to try and organize a public-relations opportunity, rather than immediately taking action against the accounts.

Facebook is barring a host of far-right figures and conspiracy theorists — but the move hasn’t gone entirely to plan.

On Thursday, the California social network announced that it was taking action against a bunch of controversial figures on its apps, including Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan, and the conspiracy site Infowars.

The company also briefed a handful of news outlets under “embargo” (meaning the companies would not publish their stories until a specified time) in advance of the announcements, including The Washington Post and The Atlantic. But when the articles were published, many of the accounts were still up — giving some of the targeted figures the opportunity to warn their followers of their impending bans and to direct them to follow them on other platforms.

Yiannopoulos, the far-right provocateur and journalist, shared a screenshot of a headline about the ban on Instagram and urged his followers to subscribe to an email mailing list. (Disclosure: In 2014, I wrote some freelance articles for The Kernel, a website owned by Milo Yiannopoulos at the time.)

milo yiannopoulos instagram ban
Milo Yiannopoulos/Instagram


And Laura Loomer, a far-right activist, told her Instagram fans to join her channel on the messaging app Telegram.

Meanwhile, Jones was broadcasting live through Facebook an hour after the announcement to talk about that announcement.

There’s nothing unusual about media outlets agreeing to be pre-briefed on important news under embargo: Tech companies regularly make use of embargoes to coordinate coverage for product launches and the like. (Business Insider often agrees to embargoes from Facebook about news, though we weren’t given a heads up on this story.)

As reported Business Insider