During the past month, far-right Infowars conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones has experienced a flood of protest to the more aggressive elements of his content. It has rushed through his online presence following pressure on platform giants such as YouTube from online activists and users; individuals and organizations are compelling big companies to hold Jones and users like him accountable to the company’s guidelines against hate speech, following a year of controversy particularly for YouTube. Now Apple has joined ranks with those tightening the belt on conspiratorial news content, the spread of misinformation and violations of terms of service.
All five of Alex Jones’ available Infowars podcasts have been removed from the iTunes store, and Apple has openly declared the decision to be motivated by an enforcement of the guidelines set to creators and developers of content available on the platform. After Sunday, only one piece of media from Jones remains available for streaming on iTunes. The question of Jones’ compatibility with the rules and ethics of the company has mainly circulated on his inflammatory commentary on the Sandy Hook massacre and other tragedies related to gun violence that stand as the majority of evidence called upon by those campaigning for gun control.
Jones and many others claim that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the shooting of 2012 and many others never took place. Jones instead claims that the shootings were planned hoaxes featuring crisis actors as survivors and families of victims. Sleeping Giants, a campaign that describes itself as ‘dedicated to stopping racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic news sites by stopping their ad dollars,’ posted on Twitter late Sunday night regarding its responsibility for causing much of the exposure around the presence of Infowars on iTunes. The statement follows a slew of accusations that the organization seeks to undermine ‘free speech’ in favor of left-wing ideology.
“Tomorrow, Alex Jones will scream about his ban from iTunes being political,” Sleeping Giants tweeted. “There are plenty of conservative & liberal podcasts that don’t harass the parents of children killed at Sandy Hook or Las Vegas shooting victims. This was not about right or left, but right and wrong.”