The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


Is Facebook really banning links to Infowars?

I put my Facebook account at risk to find out


I'm conducting an experiment to see whether Facebook is really banning links to Alex Jones's nasty but not illegal site.  Unfortunately, it means putting my Facebook account at risk of suspension or disappearance.  Here's what I posted earlier today:

According to the Atlantic, Facebook has decided that no one can link to Alex Jones's Infowars—with the possible exception of posts that say mean things about the site:

"Facebook and Instagram will remove any content containing Infowars videos, radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content), and Facebook will also remove any groups set up to share Infowars content and events promoting any of the banned extremist figures, according to a company spokesperson."…/instagram-and-faceboo…/588607/

I'm not a fan of Jones and his nasty conspiracy-mongering. But I'm also not a fan of Facebook telling me what I can and cannot say. So, as an experiment to see whether and how Facebook actually administers its censorship regime, I'm posting links to apparently accurate news stories on the Infowars site to see what Facebook does.

If you never hear from me again, you'll know what happened!

And here we go. A link to an Infowars story taken from Reuters about drug company convictions related to opioids and bribery:…/

If you're reading this on the blog, you'll see a link to a story about drug company execs being convicted of bribery in an opioids scandal.  But if you read it on Facebook, you get a link to the Infowars landing page, which features much more opinionated content.  At first I thought perhaps Infowars was blocking deep links into its site, but now it looks as though Facebook is redirecting any deep links to the Infowars landing page.  Which seems a little self-defeating given the nature of what's on that page.  Which just goes to show:  censorship is hard work.But not to worry; I'm sure China is developing new tools every month!