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Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for hate speech

Social media platforms say the incendiary content produced by Jones and his Inforwars site violated policies about glorifying violence and hate speech

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 12:19am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 7:14am

“The Alex Jones Show” and other content produced by the far-right site Infowars has been removed from Apple, Facebook and Spotify.

Facebook said on Monday that four pages belonging to Jones were removed for violating the social network’s policy against hate speech. Also on Monday, the entirety of hundreds of episodes of “The Alex Jones Show” had been removed from music streaming service Spotify.

Those takedowns came just hours after Apple late Sunday removed all episodes of the show hosted by Jones and four other Infowars-related podcasts from Apple’s iTunes and Podcast apps.

And later on Monday, YouTube removed Jones and Infowars’ channels from the video sharing service, with some pages labelled with the declaration the account was terminated for violations of community guidelines.

The cumulative actions represent the largest efforts yet against Jones, a conspiracy theorist who most famously promoted the idea that the 2012 Sandy Hook junior school shooting in Connecticut never happened and was staged.

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Several families affected by the shooting, and an FBI agent who responded to the attack, have sued Jones for defamation. He is seeking to have the cases dismissed.

Facebook said the pages were taken down for “glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanising language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies”.

The gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children, when he launched his rampage in the Connecticut school.

Jones has repeatedly claimed the massacre was a hoax and that the parents of the murdered first-graders were actors, an accusation that has sparked death threats against some of the bereaved mothers and fathers.

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Among the conspiracy theories Jones, 44, has peddled are charges that the US government was behind numerous terrorist attacks, including the September 11 strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Several days ago, Facebook removed four videos Jones posted that the group said violated its policy on hate speech. Jones responded by posting more content on other pages, prompting the social media giant to suspend his four main pages.

Facebook stressed that it was the violent language used by Jones, rather than his conspiracy theories, that prompted the move.

For its part, Apple removed most of Jones’ podcasts, AFP confirmed, after the action was initially reported by Buzzfeed news.

“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 spokesman told Buzzfeed.

“The establishment is making its move against free speech here in America,” Jones said afterward, adding on Twitter “What conservative news outlet will be next?”