Alex Jones is suffering under the weight of massive lawsuits and harsh social media bans, but he’s still finding ways to get his crazed philosophy out into the wider web. A Media Matters for America investigation released Friday found that a website heavily linked to conspiracist Alex Jones has lingered on several social media sites including Facebook and Twitter, despite the prominent hate figure and his conspiracy power hour podcast InfoWars’ explicit ban.
The site, called National File, has been running a wide-ranging presence on social media for several years now. The site is heavily tied to Jones and his family. In leaked texts shared earlier this month by the Southern Poverty Law Center between him and well-known Republican operative Roger Stone in 2020, Jones said “off record this is my site” in relation to National File. According to the texts, the site was explicitly funded by Jones’ father David Jones and was meant to give Jones’ son, Rex Jones, more public visibility.
The Media Matter analysis cited CrowdTangle data for the nearly 12,000 Facebook posts that mentioned or linked to the National File website. They found that these posts gained more than 1.2 million interactions on the site. At the same time, BuzzSumo data included by Media Matters discovered that several of these National File articles found most engagement on Facebook, while some posts also saw increased shares on other platforms where Jones is banned, such as Twitter and Reddit.
National File has relatively few followers across social media. The account maintains 13,000 followers on Facebook and 37,000 followers on Twitter. The National File site itself is just what you would expect from a Jones-linked outlet. There’s the usual mix of “news” items slurring LGBTQ+ folks and Democrats. There was also a big banner ad enticing Jones fans to claim “10% in Free Silver” featuring a stock photo of Fox News host Sean Hannity.
After a wave of bans across multiple social sites, Facebook banned both Jones and his podcast InfoWars by May, 2019. Facebook is just one of many social media platforms that has threatened to remove any of Jones or InfoWars’ videos, podcasts, or articles that promote his conspiracies on the platform. National File created most of its social media accounts in July 2019, around the same time National File registered its website domain, according to the Whoisology domain database.
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As it’s become more clear about National File’s links to Alex Jones, some platforms have have yet to investigate if National File violated any rules. Gizmodo has learned that Meta is investigating the pages related to National File. Whether Meta will do anything about the page is yet to be seen, but we’re told the social company will take action on any accounts that violate its policies.
Meta has a strike system across its platforms for violating its community standards and rules against creating a new account to get around explicit bans. Twitter has similar rules, but as is evidenced by major right wing figures being given back their accounts, who is or isn’t allowed on the platform is more up to Twitter’s CEO Elon Musk than anything else. Twitter no longer has a communications department to field questions whether it is investigating National File’s accounts.
As pointed out by left leaning nonprofit Media Matters, data from Meta’s Ad Library shows National File has tried to monetize Facebook to some small extent. Some of these sponsored ads have been removed for violating Meta’s ad standards, but at least one reading “WANT THE REAL NEWS THE LEFTIST MEDIA WON’T REPORT” remains active. National File apparently spent a little more than $200 on these ads and received 10,000 to 15,000 impressions, meaning each time a user sees an advertisement.
Though Jones’ entire media empire may be in jeopardy as he remains on the hook for more than $1 billion in damages after two verdicts related to his spreading conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings. He’s even claimed the Department of Justice wants to repossess his cat among other assets. Jones and his companies have filed for bankruptcy, but National File was not listed among those assets Jones owns. If Jones’ media empire continues to decline, it will be interesting to see which conspiracy sites he leaves behind in his wake.