Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is currently in the middle of an effort to goad one of his viewers into killing Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Like the “Pizzagate” claims that would eventually send an armed and unstable nut to a pizza restaurant, these new claims also revolve around Alex Jones claiming his newly declared enemy is part of a pedophile ring that exists simply because this money-grubbing little shit says so; it includes Alex Jones pantomiming shooting Mueller.
The word is he doesn’t have sex with kids, he just controls it all. Can you imagine being a monster like that? God. […]
It’s not a joke. It’s not a game. It’s the real world. Politically. You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch.
It’s not a joke, and it’s not a game; this is how Alex Jones operates. He goads his audience of America’s dumbest people into taking action against whichever person Jones announces as their new enemy. He claims the children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School were merely actors, resulting in a wave of followers harassing, mocking and belittling the parents of murder victims for years. He claims that there is a child sex dungeon in the basement of a pizza restaurant that has no basement, and a man with a rifle enters the building and begins shooting in an attempt to uncover the “secret,” nonexistent basement.
His current effort seeks to goad one of his viewers into doing violence to Russia investigators under the exact same pretense as before: something something child sex ring. And after reviewing Jones’s acts, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook once again says that this is Jones’s thinly veiled call for terrorism is an acceptable use of their platform.
[O]n Tuesday morning, a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that Jones’ comments do not violate the company’s community standards as they are not a credible statement of intent to commit violence.
But that is not the criteria by which Jones’s statements should be judged, and Facebook already knows that. Jones’s pattern is to promote insanity-laced slanders about his enemies that encourage others to engage in violence. His false statements are intended to so demonize his target of the moment that “patriots” who watch Jones repeat them feel not just enabled, but obligated to take whatever action is necessary to “stop” their monstrous supposed acts.
Jones is an eager propagandist. He had every reason to suspect, when waging war against a pizza restaurant because the owner was a Hillary Clinton supporter, that peddling false claims about imaginary children in immediate danger in a nonexistent basement would lead one of his many, many viewing idiots to attempt an armed “rescue” of those children. He knows full well that a campaign of hate-filled rants against the parents of murdered children will result in hate-filled attacks on those parents from his viewers; that is the point.
And even if he did not know those things beforehand, he most certainly knows them now. His very latest campaign was to claim a pizza restaurant was a secret pedophilia ring: It resulted in violence. Now he is claiming a specific, named government worker is the head of a similar or identical secret pedophilia ring: there is no possible way he does not expect similar or identical results.
Facebook knows this too, because they have affirmed they have reviewed Jones’s past actions and found his slander-filled suggestions that somebody do something about his enemies to be an acceptable use for their platform. They claim that it is Jones’s right to slander his critics in self-evidently false ways; they claim they cannot suss out the difference between mere opinion-having, in the “news” cycle, and the intentional, repeated peddling of absolutely false statements. This is their right—but it also ties them to future violence from Jones in a way that they were not tied, before they reviewed and accepted his methods of operation. Facebook could claim, before the Comet pizza restaurant shooting, that they did not know Jones’s outrageous and willful slanders would result in violence. They cannot claim that now. Jones’s program has a history of encouraging unstable actors to act based on his fevered claims against named citizens. He knows it, and Facebook knows it.
If anything happens to one of Jones’s “enemies” in the future, Facebook shares blame. They would not share blame if they did not know of his methods: On the contrary, they have explicitly announced that they have reviewed those acts. They would not share blame if they had a policy of banning no hateful speech: they in fact have reviewed past accounts and removed them, thus stripping that particular protection.
Facebook cannot claim not to know, just as they cannot claim they are unaware their platform is being used for foreign state-sponsored efforts against our democracy. If one of Alex Jones’s followers is riled to violence yet again, after seeing his new effort declaring that the enemies of Donald Trump are secretly “controlling” a secret society of pedophiles, promoted by Facebook and protected by Facebook, it will be on Mark Zuckerberg’s head.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.