Facebook, Instagram Ban Pro-Trump Operative Jacob Wohl

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TOPLINE

Right-wing operative Jacob Wohl, who has a history of spreading conspiracy theories, was kicked off Facebook and Instagram late Monday night—though the reason for his ban is unclear.

KEY FACTS

Wohl told Forbes his Facebook and Instagram accounts were disabled Monday night without any warning.

Wohl received a message on his Facebook account reading, “We’ve determined that you are not eligible to use Facebook. This decision is final. Unfortunately for safety and security reasons, we can’t give you any additional information as to why your account was disabled,” according to a screenshot posted on Wohl’s Telegram channel.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, and Wohl says he is unaware of any posts that violate the company’s guidelines, though he also speculated on Telegram it may have been caused by a recent video he posted showing “the true violence of Black Lives Matter.”

Wohl is best known for failing to orchestrate smear campaigns against President Donald Trump’s rivals, including efforts to fabricate sexual misconduct allegations against Robert Mueller, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Wohl said he sees his ban as proof of long-running complaints that social media platforms are biased against conservatives, though critics argue right-wing posts on Facebook consistently get more views than other liberal content, and leaked documents reportedly show that Facebook relaxed its rules so that pages from conservative publications and pundits were not penalized for violations of the company’s misinformation policies.

Crucial quote

“Now that I’ve been banned by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, I no longer have any reservations about using their platforms to ‘manipulate the conversation,’ as they put it. Project 1599 will make Cambridge Analytica look like a middle school science fair project. The Democrats will wish they had just allowed me to post my shirtless selfies and hipster coffee shop tweets,” Wohl posted on Telegram, referencing the hipster coffee shop meme.

Key background

 Last week, Wohl was accused of targeting Detroit voters with robocalls that use “racially-charged stereotypes and false information to deter voting by mail,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said, though Wohl has denied he’s associated with the effort. He was permanently banned from Twitter last year for breaking the site’s rules around creating fake accounts and he also faces securities fraud charges in California, according to the Daily Beast, though he has also denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty in February.

Tangent

Wohl said he’ll continue posting on Telegram, Gab and Parlor, which have become havens for right-wing social media stars banned from other platforms. On his Telegram channel Tuesday morning, Wohl attempted to disparage Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “I would never trade places with Mark Zuckerberg. Imagine being worth $100 billion, yet you’re still fat and have an ugly wife,” the post reads, which included a shirtless photo of himself at the gym.



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