‘Big Tech’ Takes Down Infowars 🔇

Kraft/Getty Images

Kraft/Getty Images

Alex Jones is banned

Apple, YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify have removed podcasts and content from Alex Jones and his media company Infowars for violating community standards. Infowars responded by condemning the tech firms of censorship. Jones has previously received an endorsement from President Trump

Jones’ claim to fame

Infowars and Jones have long received criticism for spreading unsubstantiated information and conspiracy theories. Jones’ YouTube channel had a significant following of more than 2.4 million subscribers. Jones has gained notoriety for peddling conspiracy theories such as claiming 9/11 was a government job to more recently claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged

The right claims that the banning of Infowars was a coordinated attempt by 'Big Tech'. They argue that CNN journalists and Democratic politicians incessantly lobbied to have the website censored. Some on the right acknowledge that there may be a case for Jones’ content to be banned. However, they contend that companies will be criticized by the left if their content policy is too lenient, and lambasted for censorship by the right if their policy is too restrictive. 

The left highlights Alex Jones as an example of taking down misinformation and bad behavior as opposed to censorship. The left contends that Jones received several warnings from Facebook for violating community standards before having his content removed via Facebook’s strike system. They also draw attention to Jones’ recent lawsuit regarding his claims that the Sandy Hook tragedy was staged.

Is freedom of speech under attack?

Some have come out in support of Jones claiming free speech is under attack – including Britain’s Nigel Farage, WikiLeaks, and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). However, Apple, Google, YouTube, and Spotify are private companies and hence not beholden to the First Amendment. They set their own content policy and reserve the right to moderate any content on their platforms. It is important to remember that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from its consequences.

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