Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify have taken radical action against Alex Jones today, the conspiracy theorist behind InfoWars. Apple moved first to stop showing results for his podcasts – save one – from appearing in the iTunes library, then Facebook and YouTube decided to remove the main InfoWars pages from their sites. Lastly, Spotify removed Jones’ podcasts from its service too.
Facebook had previously suspended Alex Jones for 30 days for violating the website's rules.
Apple, speaking to BuzzFeed, said:
“Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users. Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
Facebook explained the reason it removed Jones’ content in a blog post, the specific reasons for the take downs included: glorifying violence, and dehumanising language to attack minorities. The pages removed by Facebook include: the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Nightly News Page, and the InfoWars page.
Rather than some shadowy Illuminati figures orchestrating the whole shut down of Alex Jones, activists had actually been lobbying tech platforms to cut ties with Alex Jones and InfoWars. At the end of July the group, Sleeping Giants, asked Apple why it continued to host content which broke the firm’s Terms of Service.
For its part, InfoWars criticised the decisions saying:
“This is the modern day electronic equivalent of book burning. This is throwing dissidents in the Big Tech gulag because their voices were becoming too loud and having too much influence. This is the purge. This is election meddling and COLLUSION.”
While the moves will be devastating to Jones’ network, he still has his own site to publish content and will now likely venture into other social networks which espouse free speech as we’ve seen others do in the past.