And early Monday, Facebook said it removed four pages run by Infowars founder Alex Jones for “repeatedly posting content over the past several days” targeting transgender people, Muslims and immigrants that contravened the social-media company’s standards prohibiting hate speech and content glorifying violence.
They’re the latest moves by big digital-media platforms to stop distributing the right-wing conspiracy website’s content, which has been a high-profile test case of how Silicon Valley is grappling with the problem of dealing with inflammatory content and misinformation.
Apple’s removal of the Infowars podcasts, first reported by BuzzFeed News, comes after Spotify and Stitcher pulled multiple podcasts from Jones last week. Last month both YouTube and Facebook penalized the alt-right agitator for violating their community-standards guidelines and deleted four videos he posted to the services.
“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,” Apple said in a statement. “We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
The Infowars podcasts Apple removed from iTunes include “The Alex Jones Show,” “War Room,” and “Infowars Freedom Nuggets.” Those have been pulled from the iTunes directory, making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. About 100 episodes of Infowars news-recap podcast “RealNews With David Knight” that remain available on iTunes.
The “Infowars Official” app for iOS remains available in Apple’s App Store. The free app, released in July 2018, provides the ability to live-stream Infowars shows including “Real News,” “The Alex Jones Show” and “War Room” as well as access articles.
Facebook, in a blog post, said it deleted four pages on Monday (Aug. 6) operated by Jones: the Alex Jones page, the Alex Jones Channel, InfoWars and Infowars Nightly News. The company also placed Jones in a 30-day suspension from posting anything to Facebook.
The content posted on the four pages were removed “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,” according to Facebook.
“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,” Facebook said in the blog post.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Spotify removed all episodes “The Alex Jones Show” from its service after initially pulling just four segments last week. The company conducted a further review of Jones’ podcast and determined that there were enough violations of Spotify’s “hate content” policy that it warranted full removal.
Some of Infowars notorious assertions have included claiming that 9/11 was perpetrated by “globalists” in the U.S. government; that the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was a hoax; and that David Hogg, one of the students who survived the February 2018 shooting massacre in Parkland, Fla., was a paid actor.