He’s known for screaming so loudly that the blood vessels in his head might explode—but it’s getting harder and harder to hear Alex Jones. Facebook and Apple's iTunes took down huge parts of the far-right conspiracy theorist’s massive internet presence Monday.
Shortly after Apple confirmed it has removed the vast majority of the loudmouth shock jock’s podcasts from iTunes, Facebook published a blog post explaining that it had “unpublished” four of the Infowars host’s most active pages for violating its hate-speech rules.
If Jones doesn’t appeal the rulings, the pages will be removed permanently.
While CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been under fire for allowing fake news to be spread far and wide on his social network, the company’s blog made clear that Jones’ multiple false conspiracy theories were not the reason his pages were targeted—it was for violent, racist, and transphobic hate speech.
“Last week, we removed four videos on four Facebook Pages for violating our hate speech and bullying policies,” explained Facebook. “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.
“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.
“All four Pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes. 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.”
Jones, arguably America’s most prominent conspiracy theorist, has previously claimed that the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington were staged by the government and promoted a theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was faked by left-wing forces to promote gun control.
Jones’ supporters have reacted with predictable fury to the action by the three internet giants. Infowars contributor Paul Joseph Watson tweeted Monday: “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.”
The official account of Wikileaks tweeted: “Infowars says it has been banned by Facebook for unspecified ‘hate speech’. Rgardless of the facts in this case, the ability of Facebook to censor rivial publishers is a global anti-trust problem, which along with San Francisco cultural imperialism reduces political diversity.”
Earlier Monday, Apple said it removed the entire library for five of Jones’ six Infowars podcasts, including the shows War Room and the daily The Alex Jones Show. Only one program provided by Infowars, RealNews With David Knight, was left on Apple’s services by Sunday night.
Podcast service Stitcher also announced it was removing Jones from its service, saying in a statement to Billboard that Jones had "harassed or allowed harassment of private individuals and organizations."
Spotify took similar action the week before. Some episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast were taken down, with the streaming company saying in a statement: “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community. Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast for violating our hate-content policy.”
Responding to the action from Spotify last week, Jones said: “I was born in censorship. I was born being suppressed.”