Facebook has taken action against David Icke and his dangerous and divisive conspiracy theories. Now other platforms should follow suit.
After years of promoting antisemitism and conspiracy theories, HOPE not hate is delighted to see that David Icke has finally been removed from Facebook today. But his lies remain on the site via videos, blogs and other posts. Facebook should follow through on their action today by removing the many groups and pages set up to promote Icke’s conspiracy theories.
With almost 800,000 followers at his time of deletion, Icke was perhaps the single largest promoter of harmful misinformation about COVID-19 and conspiracies of world domination by Jewish people.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Icke has used his huge social media platform to promote the idea that the coronavirus does not exist and that the measures used to prevent its spread are part of a conspiracy to control the population. Such theories pose a very real risk of public harm; a study from researchers at King’s College London suggests that people who believe such theories are significantly less likely to adhere to public health measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
He has also promoted the conspiracy theories surrounding the rollout of 5G technology that have seen dozens of telecom masts attacked across the UK over the past two months, as well as harassment of telecom engineers carrying out their work.
Icke’s promotion of antisemitic conspiracy theories has been well-documented over the years. He strongly denies being antisemitic, claiming that he doesn’t have a problem with the Jewish people. Instead, he claims, it’s the “Rothschild Zionist/Khazarian Mafia/Sabbatian-Frankists” that he takes issue with. But the plots and tropes that he ascribes to these nonsensical subcategories of Jewishness are the most traditional and pernicious forms of antisemitism, ones that have caused immeasurable harm and violence against the Jewish people over the centuries. This can clearly be seen in his attempts to rehabilitate the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, an utterly debunked and explicitly antisemitic forgery, by claiming that it refers to a plot by a “Sabbatian-Frankist Death Cult” rather than Jewish people.
Icke’s promotion of harmful misinformation and antisemitic conspiracies to his huge audience made him a uniquely dangerous presence, so his removal by Facebook is hugely welcome news. HOPE not hate will be calling on other social media platforms – especially YouTube and Twitter – to follow their lead.