Spotify is removing some Alex Jones podcasts — but not all of them — because they are ‘hate content’ | Social
The music streaming service has been the target of public outrage for carrying Jones’s show.
Infowars founder Alex Jones is getting another slap on the wrist from a major tech company: Spotify, the music streaming service that also streams podcasts, has removed multiple episode of “The Alex Jones Show” for violating the company’s policies around hate speech.
“We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” a Spotify spokesperson told Recode. “Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy.”
Spotify was under pressure to do something about Jones, a well-known conspiracy theorist and talk show host, who was suspended from Facebook last week for repeated policy violations. YouTube also suspended Jones from broadcasting live, and took down some of his videos.
Public outrage was then directed toward Spotify, which distributes Jones’s podcast. People took to Twitter to demand Spotify remove Jones’s podcast, and some threatened to cancel their subscriptions if the company didn’t comply.
While Spotify is taking action, Jones and his podcast aren’t gone for good. A Spotify spokesperson declined to share what episodes were removed or what specific content triggered the company’s action, but the podcast is still available through the service.
Unlike Facebook and YouTube, though, which suspend users after they receive a certain number of strikes against their record, Spotify doesn’t have a similar system in place, according to a source. It’s unclear, then, how or if Jones might be suspended or banned from the service altogether.
Spotify has had recent issues surrounding its content policies. Since rewriting them earlier this year, the company had to walk some of those changes back after backlash from artists who felt they were too strong. Spotify responded to the outrage by saying it didn’t want to “play judge and jury,” but still has a policy in place against hate speech. That policy stipulates, “Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Facebook suspended Jones for similar reasons.
Jones has become a symbol of the kind of hate speech and disinformation that major internet companies, like Facebook and YouTube, are trying to rid themselves of. Jones has said repeatedly, for example, that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. Facebook and YouTube have both been under pressure to stop the spread of disinformation, which has become commonplace and can lead to serious offline consequences.
It’s clear that Spotify felt the heat to do something, but it’s also clear that this issue won’t be isolated. As we wrote last week when Facebook suspended Jones:
All of these issues come from the same challenge: Deciding what should be allowed, and what shouldn’t be allowed, on services like Facebook and Twitter. Everyone can agree on some elements of that — child pornography, for example, is an obvious no-no — but what about so-called fake news? What if it’s shared innocently? What if it’s satirical?
It’s unknown if Spotify warned or alerted Jones before episodes of his podcast were removed. We have asked a Spotify spokesperson. Jones did not immediately reply to a request for comment sent to Infowars.