Ryan Browne, CNBC, August 6, 2018
Apple and Facebook clamped down on content by Alex Jones Monday, with the former pulling five of his podcasts and the latter removing four pages controlled by him.
Apple confirmed on Monday that it had removed five out of six podcasts, which includes Jones’ infamous “The Alex Jones Show” as well as a number of other InfoWars audio streams. The news was originally reported by BuzzFeed News.
Jones, a controversial conspiracy theorist who has claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, has been hit with other content bans from the likes of Google’s YouTube and Spotify.
Apple’s move seems slightly more dramatic — the company has taken down entire libraries of InfoWars podcasts, rather than a select few episodes.
“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.”
Later on Monday morning, Facebook announced it was removing four of Jones’ pages for persistently uploading content in breach of the social network’s content guidelines.
In July, Facebook removed four of Jones’ videos and hit his own personal profile with a 30-day ban over what the firm deemed as a violation of its policies on bullying and hate speech.
The company explained on Monday that when it deletes content, the removal counts as a strike — essentially a warning — against the person that uploaded it. In the case of pages, Facebook said it holds both a page and an administrator who posts content in violation of its rules accountable.
But it also said that the reason for removing Jones’ pages was in no way related to concerns over fake news.
“All four pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes,” the company said in a blog post.
Spotify last week pulled several of Jones’ podcasts, citing the violation of its policies on hateful content. On Monday, however, the streaming service completely removed “The Alex Jones Show” from the platform, a spokesperson for the company told CNBC Monday.
Tech’s politics problem
The problem of online political content as a whole has proven to be a contentious one for digital companies.