Facebook removes Alex Jones, Infowars pages for hate, bullying

Monday, 06 Aug, 2018

Major tech companies have begun to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their services, reflecting a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech and misinformation following protests on social media.

Twitter is on fire with debate over nearly simultaneous decisions by Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify to take action against controversial right-wing YouTube host Alex Jones' and his InfoWars channel citing "hate speech".

"Apple does not tolerate hate speech", the company said in a statement.

Last month, Facebook removed specific videos from the pages, and banned the page admin (Jones himself) for 30 days following complaints from users. Now, YouTube has followed suit in dramatic fashion by permanently banning both the Alex Jones and InfoWars channels from existence.

Technology companies Apple and Facebook have deleted content belonging to United States far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms, alleging hate speech, glorified violence and other violations of policies.

Earlier this summer, Google's YouTube site suspended Jones' content for 90 days because it violated its graphic content policy.

Well known for pushing conspiracy theories, Infowars has not only claimed that Sandy Hook was a hoax, but promoted a theory that the moon landings were "fake" and that the 9/11 attacks were a so-called "false flag" (a covert government operation created to deceive citizens).

He now admits the shooting occurred but says his claims were free speech. Last week, Jones defended his content choices and said that Facebook and YouTube were trying to "kill speech in this country". Last week, Spotify removed only certain episodes of the podcast, but the music-streaming company said the program continued to defy the rules against hate content.

Jones also urged people to go to his online store and buy a T-shirt, with slogans that back his site and President Trump's re-election campaign.

On Monday, Facebook said it "unpublished" pages affiliated with Jones, which means there's nothing to see on his pages except a takedown notice.

Apple was first to take action against Jones, with BuzzFeed reporting that it scrubbed the entire library for five of Infowars' six podcasts from iTunes and its Podcast app. It appears that Silicon Valley is exhausted of Jones' rhetoric, and he has been taken off of several prominent social media and streaming sites.

Some applauded the companies including Sleeping Giants, a lobbying group attempting to get big tech companies to remove hateful content.

Alex Jones is a controversial radio and podcast host based in Austin, Texas.

Facebook stressed that it was the violent language used by Jones, rather than his conspiracy theories, that prompted the move.

YouTube said in a statement that when users violate its policies against hate speech and harassment, "we terminate their accounts".