Late Sunday evening, Apple removed Alex Jones’ Infowars podcasts from its iTunes and Podcasts library; Facebook and YouTube quickly followed in line (as did Spotify, MailChimp, Pinterest, etc.). The spotlight is on Twitter, which stands as the last social media platform giving Jones a voice. Jones is a conspiracy theorist who grew InfoWars from talk-radio and public-access programs into a media empire consisting of websites, subscription video, and various sales ventures, including T-shirts and dietary supplements. InfoWars content is generally described as far-right fake news, and the out-cry against it has been growing for weeks.
As of post time, Twitter still has not banned Jones’ account, arguing that he hasn’t violated their rules.
- YouTube, Facebook, and Apple’s ban on Alex Jones, explained [Vox] “To be clear, Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple are all private companies, and legally have the right to ban any entity from their platforms, including Jones.”
- Why Big Tech’s Fight Against InfoWars Is Unwinnable [Wired] “The question was never really whether Jones had violated Facebook’s policies—or YouTube’s, for that matter—but whether the companies would ever fully enforce those policies at the risk of breaking their promise of radical openness.”
- Apple and Google haven’t banned Infowars apps, and their downloads are booming [The Verge] “The Infowars app was flooded with five-star reviews championing the idea of free speech, with titles like ‘Infowars WILL NOT be silenced.'”
- A Better Way to Ban Alex Jones [New York Times] “The good news is that tech companies don’t have to rely on vague, malleable and hotly contested definitions of hate speech to deal with conspiracy theorists like Mr. Jones. The far better option would be to prohibit libel or slander on their platforms.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- Woodruff, Betsy. “Falsely Accused Parkland School Shooter Sues Alex Jones’ Infowars for Defamation.” Daily Beast (New York), 02 Apr. 2018, p. 15.
- Jenkins, Aric. “Infowars’ Alex Jones Apologized for His ‘Pizzagate’ Coverage. He Blamed Other Media for It.” Fortune.Com, 25 Mar. 2017, p. 1.
- Warburton, Nigel. “Free speech in the age of the Internet.” Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2009. 15 Nov. 2016, p. 81-95.