Update: According to Bloomberg, the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page “have been unpublished for repeated violations of community standards and accumulating too many strikes,” Facebook says in statement.
Facebook said it reviewed content “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”
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Apple has completely removed five of Infowars' six podcasts from its iTunes and Podcast apps under their hate speech guidelines, reports BuzzFeed News - including the daily Alex Jones podcast and the show "War Room" - in "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. -BuzzFeed
"Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users," a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
"Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
Apple's decision is the latest in a string of technology companies which have taken action against Jones and Infowars, which he founded 19 years ago in 1999. Last month, YouTube and Facebook each pulled down four videos by Jones and Infowars. Facebook suspended Jones for 30 days, while YouTube hit the news outlet with a "strike." Meanwhile, Spotify and the podcast app Stitcher followed suit, removing specific episodes of Jones' show they deemed to contain hateful content.
Apple's decision comes on the heels of liberal outrage directed at Jones and his network, most recently spearheaded by online activists Sleeping Giants - which has lobbied for tech platforms in general to cut all ties with Jones; condemning Apple last week for their reluctance.
Okay...what is happening here?@iTunes @apple, are you really choosing to host Infowars on your platform after Alex Jones’ harassment of Sandy Hook parents and Vegas shooting victims and threats to the Special Counsel? How does this not break your Terms Of Service? https://t.co/Bfhwf6NXYN— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) July 30, 2018
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Sleeping Giants praised the removal on Sunday night. "While companies like Facebook, YouTube and Spotify have been twisting themselves into pretzels inventing ways to avoid having to enforce their own Terms Of Service on Alex Jones, it’s great to hear that Apple, whose reach is so broad, is willing to do it," a spokesperson for the company wrote. -BuzzFeed
So while they are not exactly free speech advocates, it is useful to observe how simple it is for today's online media giants and global distributors of discourse to incite a modern-day book burning simply by labeling speech as hateful.
As of Sunday night, the only remaining podcast linked to Infowars is a daily news recap show called "Real News With David Knight," however it's not clear why it was spared the "axe of cleansing."
Commenting on the action, Infowars' Paul Joseph Watson said that "according to Apple, if you don’t respect people with different views, you will be banned. Does this mean it is necessary to respect people who advocate child marriage and honor killings simply to have a platform?"
According to Apple, if you don’t respect people with different views, you will be banned.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 6, 2018
Does this mean it is necessary to respect people who advocate child marriage and honor killings simply to have a platform? pic.twitter.com/O89PQ8mUPo
He also reported that Infowars has now also been permanently banned by Facebook.
Facebook bans Infowars. Permanently.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 6, 2018
Infowars was widely credited with playing a key role in getting Trump elected.
This is a co-ordinated move ahead of the mid-terms to help Democrats.
This is political censorship.
This is culture war.https://t.co/HkGOdjxhhk