YouTube, Facebook Remove Alex Jones Accounts After Apple Bans Podcasts From iTunes
InfoWars did not respond to a request for comment, but Jones tweeted on Monday that he'd been "banned completely" from Facebook, Apple and Spotify, adding that "the one platform that they can't ban" is the InfoWars website, where it hosts a series of shows and live streams.
Several tech platforms are cracking down on Alex Jones' InfoWars.
Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify have all removed content produced by Jones and his right-wing media brand within the last day.
It all started on Sunday night when Apple removed five InfoWars podcasts from its iTunes online marketplace. The podcasts, which include the Jones-hosted War Room, are no longer available via iTunes or Apple's podcasting app. Only one InfoWars podcast is still available, and that is Real News With David Knight, a three-hour radio show that broadcasts on weekday mornings.
An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the decision with a statement that says the company "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." The statement continued by noting that podcasts that violate those guidelines are removed from the directory, which means they will no longer be searchable or available to download or stream. "We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions," the statement concludes.
The decision by Apple to remove the podcasts from its search is an especially big hit for Jones because of Apple's dominance in the podcasting space. The iPhone maker did not host the shows, but listed them in its directory.
Following Apple's decision, Spotify and Facebook both took new action against Jones and his right-wing media brand, which is known for spreading conspiracy theories. Facebook, which had previously suspended Jones' personal page for violating its policies, said early Aug. 6 that it had removed four pages belonging to Jones "for repeatedly posting content over the past several days that breaks" its community standards. Per a Facebook blog post, Facebook first removed four videos from four pages — the Alex Jones Channel page, the Alex Jones page, the InfoWars page and the InfoWars Nightly News page — for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. It then suspended Jones for 30 days for his role in posting the content. Now, the four pages have been unpublished "for repeated violations" of the community standards, including glorifying violence and using "dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants." Facebook specifically noted that "while much of the discussion around InfoWars has been related to false news ... none of the violations that spurred today's removals were related to this."
Overnight Spotify also removed the Alex Jones Show from its site, which followed an earlier decision to remove specific episodes of Jones' podcast for hateful content. The decision to take down the podcast fully followed a review of the content over the weekend that determined there were enough violations to warrant removal.
Later on Monday morning, YouTube terminated the Alex Jones channel, which had more than 2 million subscribers. Google-owned YouTube previously had removed some of the media personality's videos and had issued strikes against his channel, but had not gone as far as banning the channel from its platform. A ban finally occurred because Jones, whose channel had been issued a strike on July 24 and was suspended from live streaming for 90 days, tried to circumvent the restriction and promote live streaming from other channels.
"All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. "When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts."
Twitter is the only major platform not to have banned Jones. A company spokesman said Monday that InfoWars and its associated accounts do not currently violate its rules. If future content were to violate the rules, the company would review it and take action.
BuzzFeed News first reported on the removal of the podcasts from Apple. InfoWars did not respond to a request for comment, but Jones tweeted on Monday that he'd been "banned completely" from Facebook, Apple and Spotify, adding that "the one platform that they can't ban" is the InfoWars website, where it hosts a series of shows and live streams.
Aug. 5, 9:35 p.m. Updated with Apple's statement.
Aug. 6, 7:45 a.m. Updated with additional information about Facebook and Spotify's subsequent removal of Alex Jones and InfoWars content from their platforms.
9:20 a.m. Updated with YouTube's statement.
1:10 p.m. Updated with Twitter's response.