Facebook and Instagram have permanently banned one of the top organizers of the “Stop the Steal” protest that devolved into deadly riots on Capitol Hill last week.
Within the last day, the company removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Ali Alexander, a far-right Republican operative who helped organize the event.
“We removed this account on both Facebook and Instagram for violating our Coordinating Harm policy,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement. He said the removal is part of Facebook’s decision to remove any content referring to “stop the steal” ahead of the inauguration.
Last Friday, according to the Daily Beast, Alexander posted a video on Twitter saying: “I didn’t incite anything. I didn’t do anything.” But in the lead up to the rally, Alexander had not only called for a march on the Capitol but hinted that it could get violent.
At one rally in mid-December in Arizona, he told the crowd, “One of our organizers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patriots, we don’t throw bricks.’ I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a little tar-and-feathering? Those were second-degree burns!”
Alexander also said: “We’re going to convince them to not certify the vote on January 6 by marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of patriots, to sit their butts in D.C. and close that city down, right? And if we have to explore options after that … ‘yet.’ Yet!”
And in an online video before the rally, he said, “I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea” along with three other members of Congress. He also promised to help find hotel rooms for anyone attending the protest if the hotel they had reserved temporarily closed down.
Asked for comment about being banned by Facebook and Instagram, Alexander said he has “tens of thousands of threats against my life and safety by Democrat activists and Antifa.” He insisted that the violent demonstrations at the Capitol were entirely separate from the event he had organized, warned tech companies that his movement could be hijacked by “bad actors and dark elements” with him off their platforms, and said he’d testify before lawmakers.
“I eagerly look forward to speaking to Congress and testifying about the events that led to and happened on January 6th,” Alexander said.
“I fight for civil rights. I believe this election was stolen. I petitioned my government. I’m being punished for organizing millions of people,” he added in a text message.
In addition to Facebook and Instagram, Alexander has also been banned from Twitter, PayPal, and Venmo since the Jan. 6 events.
In 2007, Alexander pleaded guilty to a felony of property theft in Texas and the next year to a credit card abuse felony, also in Texas.
Alexander, also known as Ali Akbar, worked for the John McCain 2008 presidential campaign and has also worked on various political action committees, including one called Black Conservatives Fund to which Republican mega-donor Robert Mercer gave $60,000 in 2016.
In 2019, he got attention for accusing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris of not being “an American Black” since her dad is from Jamaica, a tweet that got him a retweet by Donald Trump Jr., although he later deleted it. That July, Alexander was invited to a social media summit hosted by the White House.