Infowars Got Banned by Facebook, So Trump Just Gave It a Huge Boost

The president sides with far-right conspiracy theorists.

Alex Jones

Infowars founder Alex Jones was banned from Facebook and Instagram this week.Jose Luis Magana/AP

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President Donald Trump wants you to know just what he thinks about Facebook’s decision to ban extremist media figures from its platforms.

On Thursday, the social media giant announced that it would no longer permit content from Infowars—which for years has propagated conspiracy theories on topics ranging from 9/11 to the Sandy Hook massacre—to be shared on Facebook or Instagram, which Facebook owns. Facebook also announced that it was banning accounts run by Infowars founder Alex Jones; Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars’ former editor at large; and others Facebook views as “dangerous actors.” Watson has a long history of promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories and posting hate-filled videos with titles like “Why Are Feminists Fat & Ugly?

Trump, who has long insisted—without evidence—that social media companies are biased against conservatives, wasn’t happy about Facebook’s actions. On Friday, he branded Watson a “conservative thinker” and tweeted that he was “surprised” to see him banned from Facebook. Then on Saturday, Trump retweeted two of Watson’s tweets.

Trump then followed that up by sharing an Infowars video featuring black Trump supporters singing the president’s praises.

This isn’t the first time Trump has supported Infowars. During the 2016 presidential election, he called in to Jones’ radio show and gave a 30-minute interview. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump told Jones. After the election, Trump called Jones to thank him for his support, according to Jones, who recounted the conversation in a video he later released on Infowars.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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