Facebook joins Apple and Spotify in banning Infowars – but it's not because of 'fake news'
Facebook is the latest platform to remove content created by right-wing Infowars host Alex Jones, joining Apple, Spotify and YouTube in doing so.
Over the past few weeks, tech giants have faced calls to remove Info Wars content / YouTube
On Monday (6 August), Facebook confirmed it had removed four pages associated with Jones – who is facing legal action for broadcasting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting – for violating its "hate speech and bullying policies".
Pages Facebook has now blocked include the Alex Jones Channel, a separate page dedicated to Alex Jones, Infowars and Infowars Nightly News.
Last month, Facebook removed specific videos from the pages, and banned the page admin (Jones himself) for 30 days following complaints from users. However, amid mounting pressure the tech giant has now reconsidered and taken down the pages entirely.
"We have taken [them] down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies," explained the social network in a blog.
Over the past few weeks, tech giants have faced calls to remove Info Wars content including podcasts, videos and articles.
Sleeping Giants, an organisation dedicated to "stopping racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic news sites by stopping their ad dollars" has been instrumental in leading the charge against the Jones.
Spotify was the among the first to take action, removing some of Jones' podcasts on the grounds of hate speech, while Apple announced this week that is was removing Jones from its podcast directory.
"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," said the company in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
“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," the company added.
For now, Apple is still hosting one Infowars show — Real News with David Knight, it's not clear why this was unaffected.
YouTube has also removed certain videos featuring Jones and suspended him from broadcasting live for 90 days, but has stopped short of a full-on ban.
While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, none of the platforms involved in the Infowars purge have attributed their removal to Jones' spread of misinformation.
Facebook even specifically said: "none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this".
Well known for pushing conspiracy theories, Infowars has not only claimed that Sandy Hook was a hoax, but promoted a theory that the moon landings were "fake" and that the 9/11 attacks were a so-called "false flag" (a covert government operation designed to deceive citizens).