Real headlines from InfoWars, a site that's not banned on Facebook

Blanche Robertson
July 14, 2018

The social network has repeatedly claimed is cracking down on the spread of fake news, including investments in technology that can detect it on the site and alert users.

In response to Darcy's coverage of the event, a Facebook spokesperson tweeted back that the company viewed banning InfoWars from its platform as "contrary to the basic principles of free speech".

Instead, it says posts that it deems to be fake news will be "demoted" in the news feed.

Facebook has defended its decision to allow a notorious conspiracy theory website to remain on the social network, despite an ongoing row surrounding its position on fake news.

At an event on Wednesday, set up by Facebook for journalists to ask questions about its battle against fake news, CNN reporter Oliver Darcy asked why it allows InfoWars - a site infamous for spreading right-wing propaganda - to keep up a page with nearly one million followers.

Facebook isn't the first organization to struggle with how to handle InfoWars, which has grown more prominent since Donald Trump gave a friendly interview to Jones in 2015.

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On Wednesday, the company held an event in NY where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem. Its primary host, Alex Jones, has more than 2.4 million subscribers on YouTube. It is known for disseminating outlandish conspiracy theories - for example, the false narrative that no children were actually killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT, and that their parents were "crisis actors". I think part of the fundamental thing here is that we created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice.

The company said it would not remove fake news that did not break its rules but would down-rank content that had been marked as false.

"Facebook invited me to an event today where the company aimed to tout its commitment to fighting fake news and information", Darcy tweeted on Wednesday.

But InfoWars contributor Paul Watson suggested CNN was "lobbying a company to shut down a smaller competitor".

Facebook has been working with third-party fact checkers like Snopes and the Associated Press to help identify inaccurate stories, and prevents them from being promoted through ads.

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