Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify take down Alex Jones content | Top Stories
(Reuters) – Apple Inc, YouTube, Facebook Inc and Spotify all took down podcasts and channels from U.S. conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, saying on Monday that the Infowars author had broken community standards.
FILE PHOTO: Alex Jones from Infowars.com speaks during a rally in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
The sweeping moves are the broadest actions yet by internet companies that have suspended or removed some of the conspiracy-driven content.
Since founding Infowars in 1999, Jones has built a vast audience. Among the theories he has promoted is that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington were staged by the government.
Facebook said it removed the pages “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.”
Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson said in a tweet here that the broad take-downs amounted to censorship and were intended to help Democrats in the national election this fall.
“Infowars is widely credited with having played a key role in electing Donald Trump. By banning Infowars, big tech is engaging in election meddling just three months before crucial mid-terms,” Watson wrote on the Infowars Web site.
Neither Jones nor a representative for Infowars was available for additional comment.
The Alex Jones Channel on Alphabet Inc’s YouTube on Monday displayed a banner saying the account had been terminated for violating community guidelines, and a spokesperson added by email that repeated violation of policies such as those prohibiting hate speech and harassment led to termination of accounts.
Apple deleted most Infowars podcasts and a spokeswoman said in a statement that the company “does not tolerate hate speech” and publishes guidelines that developers and publishers must follow.
“Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming,” Apple said in a statement. “We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
Only one program provided by Infowars, “RealNews with David Knight,” remained on Apple’s podcasts platforms on Monday. BuzzFeed earlier reported that Apple had removed the library for five of Jones’s six Infowars podcasts, including the shows “War Room” and the daily “The Alex Jones Show.”
Music and podcast company Spotify said on Monday that it had now removed all of Jones’s Infowars programs from its platform, after last week removing some programs.
A representative said that Spotify took seriously reports of hate content. “Due to repeated violations of Spotify’s prohibited content policies, The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform,” the representative said.
Facebook had earlier suspended the radio and Internet host’s personal profile for 30 days in late July from its site for what the company said was bullying and hate speech.
Jones has also promoted a theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was faked by left-wing forces to promote gun control. The shooting left 26 children and adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
He is being sued in Texas by two Sandy Hook parents, seeking at least $1 million, claiming that they have been the subject of harassment driven by his programs.
Reporting by Rich McKay; Additional reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Peter Henderson and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Bernard Orr, Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski