Alex Jones has not been having the best of months, but things just got a lot worse as first Spotify and then Apple and now Facebook put their collective feet down and terminate this kind of conspiracy.
The news exploded on Monday, as three prominent social media companies announced they were taking action to eradicate their platforms of the continued presence of Alex Jones and his InfoWars project.
Facebook took the bold step of publishing an entire article on their press blog detailing their policy against hate speech and bullying. Their article went on to detail the rationale behind their decision to pull 4 of Jones’ pages: the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page.
According to Facebook, their decision was based upon repeated community standards violations and not for Jones’ publication of false conspiracy theories:
When it comes to our Community Standards, they’re focused on keeping people safe. If you post something that goes against our standards, which cover things like hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others, we will remove it from Facebook.
As a result of reports we received, last week, we removed four videos on four Facebook Pages for violating our hate speech and bullying policies. These pages were the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page. In addition, one of the admins of these Pages – Alex Jones – was placed in a 30-day block for his role in posting violating content to these Pages.
Continuing, Facebook explained that:
Since then, more content from the same Pages has been reported to us — upon review, we have taken it down 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.
All four Pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes. While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this.
Buzzfeed News reported on Monday that Apple was following suit and removing Alex Jones and InfoWars podcasts from iTunes.
Noting that “The removal follows enforcement actions by platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify and is the largest crackdown on conspiratorial news content by a technology company to date,” Buzzfeed added that:
Apple’s decision to remove all episodes of Jones’ popular show — rather than just specific offending episodes — is 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.
In a statement Sunday evening to BuzzFeed News, Apple confirmed that it notified Jones of the decision to remove the five shows under its hate speech guidelines earlier this weekend. “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 said. “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.”
The Guardian reported Monday morning that Spotify had also taken action.
Spotify also took action against Jones on Monday, removing every episode of his podcast The Alex Jones Show from its platform. The music streaming service had previously removed specific episodes of the show, but left the bulk of the archive up, before tightening its enforcement.