Facebook, YouTube ban Alex Jones, Infowars over hate speech

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Facebook, YouTube ban Alex Jones, Infowars over hate speech


Facebook, YouTube, and Apple have banned Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory site Infowars from their platforms over hate speech.

On Monday, Facebook and YouTube pulled down content from Jones, who had amassed 1.6 million and 2.4 million followers on the platforms, respectively, while Apple pulled five of six podcasts for Infowars from iTunes and the Podcast app.

According to Facebook, the takedown has nothing to do with Jones spreading false news, but for posting content that glorified violence and used dehumanizing language to describe transgender people, Muslims, and immigrants. “All four Pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes,” the company said in a blog post.

Last week, the company removed four videos on four Jones- and Infowars-related Facebook pages for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. But on Monday, the tech giant proceeded with a full ban on those pages after discovering Jones was circulating more content that contained hate speech.

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Google, which owns YouTube, also indicated that Jones had repeatedly violated the company’s policies on hate speech and harassment, forcing it to pull The Alex Jones Channel from the streaming site.

“All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube. 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,” a spokesperson said.

In a statement to BuzzFeed, Apple said it “does not tolerate hate speech.” On Monday, Spotify also told PCMag it had banned Alex Jones from the platform over repeated violations relating to hate speech.

In response, Jones tweeted on Monday that he’s considering filing a lawsuit against the companies over the alleged censorship. “What conservative news outlet will be next?”

Jones is verified on Twitter, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Jones has violated any of the site’s policies.

On its website, where Jones is still free to broadcast,

Infowars claims
the tech industry is out to censor conservative content from the web. “Infowars is widely credited with having played a key role in electing Donald Trump. By banning Infowars, big tech is engaging in election meddling just three months before crucial mid-terms,” it said.

None of the companies specified which content actually led to the crackdown. But

Infowars
and Jones have long peddled conspiracy theories, including that the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 was a hoax. The parents of those children have sued Jones. Last month, Jones also posted a video accusing special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller of covering up pedophilia crimes. In that same video, he also pretends to shoot Mueller with his finger.

The controversial nature of Infowars prompted journalists and the public to question why Facebook and YouTube allowed the site’s content onto their platforms as both companies fight fake news and abuse. Last month, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to defend permitting Infowars on his site, claiming he was protecting free speech, but his comments simply stoked more controversy. The mounting pressure appears to have forced the whole tech industry to act.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

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