Infowars YouTube Channel Gets Strike for School-Shooting Conspiracy Video

Alex Jones interview with Megyn Kelly - H Publicity 2017
Screengrab/Courtesy of NBC News

Channels that receive three strikes in three months will be kicked off YouTube.

A YouTube channel run by far-right news website Infowars has received a strike against it after posting a conspiracy-theory video about the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a source has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

This week, the Alex Jones Channel on YouTube posted a video about David Hogg, one of the most outspoken survivors of the shooting, indicating that he was a crisis actor. As CNN first reported, the video, "David Hogg Can't Remember His Lines In TV Interview," was removed, and the channel, which has 2.2 million subscribers and over 1 billion lifetime views, was given a strike.

YouTube doles out strikes to channels that violate its policies. Channels that receive three strikes in three months are shut down.

Earlier this week, the Google-owned video platform spoke out against a similar video calling Hogg a crisis actor that had appeared at the top of its Trending page. In a statement, a YouTube spokeswoman said the video has been removed from the site "for violating our policies." Many people criticized the site for not catching the video before it became the No. 1 video on the Trending page.

Both videos underscore how difficult it has become for YouTube's algorithms to police content on the platform. YouTube has 1.5 billion users who watch 1 billion hours of video each day. The site typically relies on users to flag videos that they believe have violated its policies.

But conspiracy videos and other sources of fake news have regularly found their way to the top of YouTube searches in recent months. The company said last year that it had updated its algorithm to prioritize videos from trusted news outlets in search results. Meanwhile, YouTube plans to grow its safety and moderation teams to 10,000 by the end of 2018.

Hogg's outspokenness has made him a target online and prompted far-right media like Jones' Infowars and other conspiracy theorists to accuse him of being paid to play a victim of the shooting in order to push an anti-gun policy.