Update: Facebook has now deleted four pages pages run by Alex Jones for “repeated violations of community standards.” YouTube has now completely banned Jones’ channel from their platform.
The Facebook pages removed were the Alex Jones Channel, Alex Jones’ personal profile, InfoWars, and Infowars Nightly News.
Alex Jones, peddler of vile, room temperature-IQ conspiracy theories and lies, will no doubt cry “censorship” at the latest move by a technology company to distance itself from his brand. But it’s what any business would do if someone tracked in dog shit from outside — they’d politely, yet firmly get shown the door.
BuzzFeed News has learned that Apple has removed “the entire library for five of Infowars’ six podcasts from its iTunes and Podcast apps.”
Apple’s decision to remove all episodes of Jones’ popular show — rather than just specific offending episodes — is one of the largest enforcement actions intended to curb conspiratorial news content by a technology company to date. Apple did not host Jones’s shows, but it offered an index that allowed anyone with an iPhone to find and subscribe to them. Though Apple is far from Jones and Infowars’ only distribution platform, the decision to pull Jones’ content will considerably limit the outlet’s audio reach — as of 2018, Apple’s Podcasts platform amassed 50 billion all-time downloads and streams.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Apple made clear that it “does not tolerate hate speech.”
“Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming,” the statement read. “We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
Facebook had recently suspended Jones’ personal page for 30 days, followed by YouTube removing four videos for violating “longstanding policies against child endangerment and hate speech.”
Spotify soon followed suit, removing podcast episodes from his media outlet InfoWars.
The moves will likely play into a narrative disseminated by Jones and other far-right media figures who say they’re being singled out and censored by tech companies — an argument that ignores the fact that Jones and others like him are clearly violating the posting policies of the platforms they use.
Social media platforms have historically shown serious flaws when it comes to targeting content that violates their terms of service, but these latest hits on Jones show that there’s at least some semblance of an effort to look like they’re doing something.
Featured image via YouTube