Spotify Users Threaten to Quit Over Infowars Podcast
Turns out the music-streaming site also hosts ‘The Alex Jones Show’ and people are furious. Is Apple next?
Spotify is the latest media platform to come under pressure for distributing material from conspiracy-theory hub Infowars, with customers threatening to drop their subscriptions over a podcast Spotify hosts from Infowars chief Alex Jones.
Other platforms like YouTube have also faced questions about why they host videos from Jones, who has used his outlet to promote conspiracy theories about Pizzagate and the Sandy Hook school shooting. Spotify didn’t respond to a request for comment about allowing The Alex Jones Show on its service. Infowars podcasts are also available on other podcast services, including Apple’s iTunes.
Right Wing Watch writer Jared Holt pointed out Monday that Spotify distributed Jones’ podcasts, minutes after Jones had urged his followers to sign up to receive the podcast through Spotify because “big tech giants are currently censoring us harder than ever.”
Holt’s tweet ignited a round of criticism from Spotify users who threatened to drop their subscriptions if Spotify continued. Sleeping Giants, an online campaign that previously aimed to get companies to drop ads from Breitbart, slammed Spotify over distributing the podcast.
Some media platforms hosting Infowars videos have already made some attempts to rein in Jones. On Friday, Facebook suspended Jones’ account on the site—although it didn’t touch other related pages for Jones and Infowars. YouTube also gave Jones a “strike” on his account last week, pushing him closer to a potential ban.
But the platforms have still been accused of going too softly on Jones, who has promoted a variety of conspiracy theories for years. The single YouTube strike, for example, encompassed four videos—a decision that meant Jones wouldn’t receive the three strikes that would kick him off the platform for good.
Still, the social-media punishments have prompted an outcry on the right, with Sen. Ted Cruz tweeting “Who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech?”
Spotify has already ventured into content moderation before, with little success. In May, Spotify announced a new “hateful content” policy that would prevent the service from promoting songs from singer R. Kelly, among others. But two weeks later, Spotify rolled back the policy.