Spotify has deleted several episodes of the podcast hosted by far-right agitator Alex Jones, the controversial founder of the Infowars conspiracy-theory site. The streaming service cited Jones’ violations of its policy banning hate speech.
“We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” a spokeswoman said in an email. “Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy.” The company did not provide details about the alleged hate speech in the Jones podcasts that were removed, an action it took after many Spotify users complained about them.
News of Spotify’s removal of the offending Jones podcast episodes was first posted by New York Times reporter Ben Sisario in a tweet Wednesday.
Spotify continues to offer dozens of episode of Jones’ podcast on the service, dating back to at least June 2017.
Jones — who has perpetuated such myths as asserting that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School gun massacre was a hoax — has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks by big tech platforms. Jones and the Infowars’ brand of fear-based rhetoric targeting immigrants, LGBT people, women and other groups have become a high-profile test case for what internet-content platforms will allow and what they will block.
Last week, Jones was penalized by both YouTube and Facebook for violating their community-standards guidelines. Both YouTube and Facebook removed four videos and temporarily suspended some of Jones’ posting capabilities.
In May, Spotify implemented a policy prohibiting “hate content” from the service. It also moved to ban to artists who have engaged in what Spotify deemed “hateful conduct” from promoted playlists, applying that to R&B artist R. Kelly and rappers XXXTentacion and Tay-K. In less than a month, the company reversed course on the “hateful conduct” policy and dropped it.
This Monday, Troy Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services, announced he will leave the company. Carter was strongly opposed to the “hateful conduct” policy, Variety has reported.