Apple, Facebook ban content of US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Programmes and pages removed from online platforms for hate speech and violation of policies, tech companies say.

Technology companies Apple and Facebook have deleted content belonging to US far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms, alleging hate speech, glorified violence and other policy violations. 

Social media giant Facebook announced on Monday that it had removed four pages belonging to Jones – founder of the pro-US President Donald Trump Infowars brand – for “repeatedly posting content over the past several days” that violates its community standards.

In its statement, the company said it removed the pages “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.”

Facebook added that it had also suspended Jones’ account for 30 days for his role in posting violating content to the pages.

Since founding Infowars in 1999, Jones has built a vast audience with his website and radio show. 

Among the conspiracy theories Jones has peddled are charges that the US government was behind numerous attacks, including the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Sweeping crackdown

For its part, Apple removed five of Infowars’ six podcasts – including the shows “War Room” and the daily “The Alex Jones Show – from its iTunes and Podcast apps, BuzzFeed News reported on Sunday. 

“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,” the tech giant told BuzzFeed in a statement.

The moves by Apple and Facebook are the most sweeping of a recent crackdown on Jones’ programmes by online sites that have suspended or removed some of his conspiracy-driven content. 

Reacting to the measures, Jones said on Twitter: “We’ve been banned completely from Facebook, Apple and Spotify. What conservative news outlet will be next?”

Spotify, the streaming music online service, had already removed a number of Jones’ podcasts last week, for breaking its hate-speech rules.

On Monday, the Swedish company went a step further and banned his programme altogether.

“We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” a representative said on Monday.

Facebook had earlier suspended the radio and internet host’s personal profile for 30 days in late July from its site for what the company said was bullying and hate speech.

Jones says his shows, which are broadcast on radio, YouTube and other platforms, reach at least 70 million people a week.

Among his claims is that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, which left 20 children and six adults dead, was a hoax.

Families of some of the victims have sued him for defamation and he now admits the shooting occurred but says his claims were free speech.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies