Facebook on Sunday removed the page for Natural News, a far-right conspiracy outlet that had nearly 3 million followers. The page violated Facebook's policy against spam, the social media company told The Daily Beast on Monday.
Natural News’ founder Mike Adams wrote on fellow-right wing conspiracy site Infowars that his site was “permanently banned” from posting. He told the Gateway Pundit, another far-right site, that the apparent ban is evidence of a conspiracy against his website.
The Daily Beast reported on Saturday that Natural News and its founder had a history of pushing hoaxes and calling for mass arrests against the left. Before the ban, Natural News had more Facebook followers than Infowars at its peak. Natural News used the page to push its trademark combination of natural remedies and far-right conspiracy theories, including disinformation about vaccines.
Facebook has previously banned similar pages, including those for Infowars—a move criticized by the right as “censorship” by Silicon Valley.
In May, Facebook issued a new ban against Jones, plus bans against far-right figures like Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as anti-Semitie and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. (The bans also applied to Facebook-owned Instagram.)
“We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," a Facebook spokesperson said of the bans in May. "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”
Facebook has cracked down on conspiracy and extremist content over the past year. In August, it banned Infowars and its founder Alex Jones, although Infowars appears to have used similar-sounding pages like “Newswars” to promote its content after the ban.
Facebook also began taking stronger actions against anti-vaccination hoaxes this year, banning anti-vax ads in March. Those ads previously targeted women in measles-stricken areas, The Daily Beast revealed.
Update: this story has been updated with Facebook's response.