Internet Crackdown On Alex Jones Causes Digital Storm
Online media giants Google, Facebook, Apple, YouTube,and Spotify have removed Info wars and its host Alex Jones from their respective platforms because they deemed his programs to be promoting harmful hate speech, along with misinformation and conspiracy theories. This marked a seismic change in the way technology giants are approaching ultraconservative media outlets and their content.
Facebook is under pressure following its failure to monitor its social network after Russia’s attack on the 2016 American presidential election. Facebook said it will not publish some of Jones’ content because he repeatedly violated Facebook’s standards against inflammatory posts attacking Muslims, transgender persons and immigrants. It said it unpublished the Infowars Nightly News Page, the Infowars Page, Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, despite Jones having a combined total of followers in excess of 2.5 million persons.
“Upon review, we have taken [the offending materials] down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies,”according to a Facebook statement and nbcnews.com.
YouTube followed suit, shutting down Jones’ primary account, which likewise broadcast to subscribers totaling about 2.4 million.
“All users,” a YouTube spokesperson said in an email, “agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. When users violate . . . policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures,” he continued, “we terminate their accounts,” according to nbcnews.com.
Spotify and Apple also respectively dropped Jones’ podcasts from their platforms. However, apps by Infowars remain available for purchase in Apple’s App Store.
It was later confirmed by Jones that he is banned by Apple, Spotify, and Facebook, according to his Twitter account.
An editor-at-large for Infowars, Paul Joseph Watson, wrote on Twitter that Facebook's actions constituted“a culture war” and “political censorship,” NBCnews.com reported.Others have also criticized Facebook for having a left-wing bias against conservative media. New York Magazine in July reported however that the head of Facebook’s News Feed, John Hegeman, resisted the claim and offered to “leave Infowars to its own devices” according to nbcnews.com reporter Kalhan Rosenblatt.
Jones can appeal Facebook's decision, however, if his appeal fails or he fails to appeal, his site will be removed permanently from the platform. To reach a decision whether to remove pages, Facebook employs a “strike” system. When a page “surpasses a certain threshold of strikes, the whole page is unpublished,” Facebook offered, without revealing exactly how many strikes are needed before a page is removed, according to NBCnews.com.
YouTube took down four videos uploaded by Jones and issued a stern warning that additional violations could mean a full ban from the video service.
Families of Sandy Hook Elementary School gun victims have filed legal claims against Jones for defamation for falsely claiming the 2012 massacre of children and staff was staged by paid actors. Those claims resulted in Sandy Hook families and their supporters being harassed.