Facebook totally blew its own 'we banned the bad guys' PR stunt

Facebook says the ban rollout took longer than planned.

For the past four years, many people have been begging Twitter and Facebook to please for the love of God ban the big hate accounts.

Finally Facebook does something. And what Fail it is.

Earlier today, the internet and cable news networks suddenly boomed with the news that Facebook finally banned a bunch of violent jerks from Facebook and Instagram, including shrieking hatemonger Alex Jones and his den of incitement and boner pill grift, Infowars.

HOWEVER... Facebook PR apparently coordinated their big news release with outlets including The Verge, Washington Post, and The Atlantic BEFORE the ban had completely rolled out.

That bungled launch window allowed Alex Jones, Milo, and the other banned jerks tell all of their Instagram and Facebook fans where to find them.

Facebook basically gave Milo an opportunity to plug his newsletter.

Said Facebook through a spokesperson, "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."

A Facebook spokesperson says the takedowns took longer than Facebook planned, which is what caused the whole stunt to fall apart.

Rob Price at Business Insider:

And Laura Loomer, a far-right activist, told her Instagram fans to join her channel on messaging app Telegram.

Meanwhile, Alex Jones was broadcasting live through Facebook an hour after the announcement to talk about that announcement.

There's nothing unusual about media outlets agreeing to be pre-briefed on important news under "embargo": Tech companies regularly make use of embargoes to coordinate coverage for product launches and the like. (Business Insider often agrees to embargoes from Facebook about news, though we weren't given a heads up on this story.)

But these pre-briefings typically involve the launch of new products or business initiatives, not enforcement actions.
Thursday's incident raises the question of why, if Facebook believed the targeted figures were promoting "hate and violence," it took the time to organize a public relations opportunity around the bans - rather than taking action immediately.

On previous enforcement actions, Facebook hasn't made advance announcements or briefed journalists - it has just taken action. For example, when it banned far-right group the Proud Boys last year, it didn't say anything about it until Business Insider noticed the bans coming into effect and reached out to its press team for comment.

And in this instance, by timing the embargo for before many of the bans came into effect, Facebook gave the toxic figures it was targeting time to respond and try to mitigate the damage.

Read the full report by Rob Price at Business Insider.