Conspiracy theorist and far-right talk show host of Infowars, Alex Jones has been banned by Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify and many others. The crackdown on Jones’ videos, media channels and podcasts came in on August 6th, with these companies citing an infringement of their terms of services and community guidelines on grounds of hate speech and promotion of violence. After facing strong pressure over the past few months to take action against Jones and his broadcasts, Apple was the first major company to take the first step, followed by Facebook only a few hours later.
If you aren’t familiar with the content Jones produces, here’s a little taste: he promotes theories that 9/11 was staged by the US government. That’s not all, he claimed that the horrendous Sandy Hook massacre that saw 26 children and adults killed, was staged by child actors hired by left-wing forces to promote gun control. Not surprisingly, Jones is being sued in Texas by 2 Sandy Hook parents. Following the bans, Jones was forced to turn to Twitter’s live streaming platform, Periscope to broadcast his radical, far-right views. One of the first things he did on Periscope was to retaliate against the companies that have banned him, attempting to garner support by saying, “Hey, it’s the most censored thing in the world for a reason. Jones is dialled in, Jones knows what’s going on”.
The war is lost but it still isn’t over
Publishing and media companies are struggling hard to keep a balance between freedom of speech, a value that they hold strongly onto, and controlling the spread of fake news, or even hate speech. Despite many major companies collectively shifting their stance on their policy guidelines, Twitter stood firm and has yet to ban Jones. Facing large amounts of criticism for Twitter’s lack of action against Jones, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained it relatively simply: Jones hasn’t violated any rules on Twitter. Dorsey explains further that he doesn’t want Twitter to succumb to external pressures and commits to enforcing rules regardless of political viewpoints.