Friday, 22 February, 2019

YouTube, Apple and Facebook remove content from InfoWars and Alex Jones

Apple Removes Info Wars Podcasts News Image Source Belltree
Deanna Wagner | 07 August, 2018, 06:58

Publishing platforms have faced strong pressure to take action against Jones and Infowars over the past few months, but Apple is the first major company to sanction the broadcaster in its entirety: other platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Spotify, have taken down specific pieces of content produced by Jones or Infowars that breached terms of service, but have allowed the publisher to stay active on their sites.

Apple deleted most of his podcasts and a spokeswoman said that the company "does not tolerate hate speech" and publishes guidelines that developers and publishers must follow.

As such, Monday morning saw Apple, Spotify, and Facebook remove his podcasts and pages from their content rosters while citing hate speech violations.

Last week Spotify removed several episodes of "The Alex Jones Show", following similar moves by YouTube and Facebook the week before. "Due to repeated violations of Spotify's prohibited content policies, The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform", the representative said.

The social media giant, Facebook, announced early Monday that they removed four pages associated with Jones for violating the company's community standards. Among Infowars' millions of followers is none other than US President Donald Trump, who appeared on his show in 2015, praising the conspiracy theorist's reputation and promising "I will not let you down".

"The establishment is making its move against free speech here in America", Jones said afterward, adding on Twitter "What conservative news outlet will be next?"

Instead, tech companies have pointed to a breach of policies against hate speech, rather than misinformation, for removing Jones. Families of Sandy Hook victims have filed lawsuits against Jones for defamation. As of noon today, CNBC was reporting that the Infowars YouTube channel was still up, although the Alex Jones channels were down.

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Some of Infowars notorious assertions have included claiming that 9/11 was perpetrated by "globalists" in the United States government; that the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was a hoax; and that David Hogg, one of the students who survived the February 2018 shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida, was a paid actor.

Apple has removed five of six Infowars podcasts from its iTunes and Podcast apps for violating its hate speech guidelines. One of these shows is the daily "War Room" show hosted by owner and radio host Alex Jones.

On Monday, Mark Zuckerberg's tech titan upped the ante and removed the episodes permanently. Facebook had already banned Jones for 30 days because he had violated its community standards.

Pinterest is the latest platform to take down Infowars' page on Monday after multiple people flagged the conspiracy theory account to the company. Note that Apple didn't just zap single offending podcasts, but rather the listings for whole podcast titles.

Some commenters on Twitter posted concerns about the potential harm of squelching voices, even if Jones' and Infowars had in the past fueled conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate - a far-fetched falsehood that Hillary Clinton operated a child sex ring at a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant, where in December 2016 a man fired his weapon off inside the pizza shop. According to Bloomberg, a Twitter spokesperson InfoWars and related accounts were not now in violation of Twitter's rules.

"So there's no way the censors can get between us", he said. Many of these products are snake oil supplements and doomsday prep items that Jones has a personal financial stake in.