YouTube, Spotify, Apple, Facebook crack down on Alex Jones pages and podcasts
UPDATE: YouTube removed Alex Jones’ page on Monday, following similar moves by Apple, Facebook, and Spotify.
“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 obtained by EW. “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.”
EARLIER: Apple and Facebook have joined Spotify in cracking down on content from Infowars founder Alex Jones on their platforms.
BuzzFeed News reported Sunday that Apple has taken down all episodes of five of Infowars’ six podcasts from its iTunes and Podcast apps, citing violations of the company’s hate-speech guidelines. “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 in a statement obtained by 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.”
After pulling several episodes of Jones’ podcast last week, Spotify has now removed all episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast from its site. “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” a Spotify spokesperson told EW in a statement Monday. “Due to repeated violations of Spotify’s prohibited content policies, The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform.”
In addition, Jones has also lost access to his Facebook pages. The social media platform removed four such pages — Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page — and then published a note titled “Enforcing Our Community Standards” to explain the decision.
“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,” the company said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Per Facebook policy, the pages have thus far only been “unpublished,” making them inaccessible for the moment. Jones and the other page owners are allowed to appeal their case. If that appeal fails, then the pages will be permanently removed from the site.
Jones and Infowars have faced accusations of using these platforms to spread falsehoods and conspiracy theories. Jones is currently facing several defamation suits stemming from his claims that school shootings like the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and this year’s Parkland shooting were “false flag” operations put on by left-wing forces in order to drum up support for gun control policies. Facebook was clear in its statement, however, that the reason for its crackdown on Jones’ accounts was due to hate-speech violations, not false statements.
“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,” the company’s statement reads.
A representative for Apple could not be reached for further comment, but Infowars-branded podcasts like The Alex Jones Show and War Room are currently inaccessible via iTunes.