Alex Jones is no longer welcome at Apple. The trillion dollar company has removed five of the six podcasts produced by InfoWars, the conspiracy theory empire that Jones founded to spread misinformation. Podcasts such as “The Alex Jones Show” and “War Room” have been pulled from all of Apple’s directories, but the company has left up the less popular InfoWars podcast “Real News With David Knight”.
But Apple’s decision is much more comprehensive than Spotify’s and will likely harm Jones’s bottom line. The InfoWars podcasts serve as advertising for a wide range of wellness and survivalism products, making Jones as much as $US18 million ($24 million) per year.
“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,” an Apple spokesperson told Buzzfeed News.
“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.”
Alex Jones has always operated on the fringes of the media world, but he’s become a focal point more recently after spending a good deal of time in court.
Jones was sued for defamation in three separate lawsuits by families who had children die in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2011, a shooting that Jones repeatedly said didn’t actually happen. Jones has said that the Sandy Hook shooting, which killed 6 adults and 20 children, was staged with actors.
Jones most recently made headlines when he counter-sued the families for legal fees.
Jones has spent his entire career exploiting the most unhinged theories in media, first starting as a radio host in Texas during the 1990s where his libertarianism flourished during the Bill Clinton presidency.
But with the rise of the internet, Jones has captured viewers from around the world who believe him, no matter how outlandish his claims. Whether it’s child slaves on Mars or the Pizzagate hoax, Jones exploits the fear and paranoia of our age better than anyone else in the business.
Curiously, Alex Jones hasn’t yet commented on the decision via Twitter, another platform where his presence has been somewhat controversial. But Twitter has always allowed extreme figures to operate with impunity on its site, including thousands of neo-Nazis who use the site to harass Jewish people, people of colour, women, and pretty much anyone else who isn’t a straight, white man.
Following Apple's decision, Facebook says it has “unpublished” some of the InfoWars pages, which means that it can appeal to have them reinstated.
Facebook has permanently BANNED Infowars.
For unspecified "hate speech". They didn't even tell us what the offending posts were.
This sets a chilling precedent for free speech.
To all other conservative news outlets - you are next.
The great censorship purge has truly begun. pic.twitter.com/v7Yo9hI0q3
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 6, 2018
Paul Joseph Watson, a British lackey for the conspiracy theory brand, has tweeted about Facebook’s “ban” on InfoWars, contradicting Facebook's claims that it is a temporary decision.
“Whether you love or loathe Infowars, this now confirms that Big Tech is working with legacy media to silence independent media,” Watson tweeted. “In places like Russia, the government shuts down the press, in America, CNN, Apple and Facebook fulfil that role.”
Gizmodo reached out to Apple to ask if any other podcasts are on the chopping block for hate speech, but had not heard back at time of writing.