There aren’t many platforms left for Alex Jones and Infowars

It’s a tough day to be Alex Jones. Following months of debate around the limitations of speech on tech-owned internet platforms, many of the biggest and most popular players in the world of social media have announced that they will no longer host content related to Infowars — the conservative personality’s controversial talk show, video network, and website that often peddle false or misleading information.

The biggest criticism of Jones and Infowars centers on the seemingly endless torrent of conspiracy theories that were a part of the network’s regular programming — including the idea that the Sandy Hook shooting was entirely staged with paid “crisis actors” and that global pedophilia rings are run by Hollywood and DC elites. Despite being patently false, as well as involved with the incitement of real-world physical violence, some platforms, including Facebook, initially declined to ban Jones from its platform even while acknowledging the damage he does while spreading false information.

After Apple booted five of the six Infowars podcasts available via iTunes earlier this morning, Facebook took down four Infowars pages from its site for violations of the site’s guidelines, including “glorifying violence” and “dehumanizing immigrants.” Hours later, Youtube gave Jones the boot, cutting off the 2 million-plus subscribers regularly tuned into the channel, and killing many of the videos on the Infowars site as a result. Even Pinterest felt pressure to quietly nudge the pundit off of its site.

Jones — and his conspiracies — aren’t completely exiled from the web, though. Jones boasts a Twitter following of more than 830,000, and his account doesn’t appear to be in any danger, at least not yet. Twitter claims Jones and the Infowars account don’t violate its rules, which remain nebulous when it comes to fake news and misinformation that may have offline ripple effects.

Meanwhile, the Infowars site, which amasses millions of visitors per month, is still standing tall. And despite Jones’ podcasts being scrubbed from the iTunes system — and from the Apple-friendly Overcast app — his official Infowars app is still freely available in the App Store. Offline, the program blasts across more than 160 radio stations nationwide every week.

Infowars has faced bans from:

  • Apple took down several podcasts, saying the company “does not tolerate hate speech,” and that it believes in “representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
  • Youtube removed Jones’s channel, saying in a statement, “All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service” when they sign up to use the site, adding that “when users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”
  • Spotify initially took several episodes of Jones’s podcast down before terminating it completely, telling Recode that, “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community.”
  • Facebook took down several pages for Infowars saying that, “Upon review, we have taken it 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.”
  • Pinterest shut down the Infowars Pinterest page; though it hasn’t said specifically why the profile was removed, its Community Guidelines state, “We remove hate speech and discrimination, or groups and people that advocate either.”

Infowars can still be found in:

  • Apple’s app store
  • Twitter

Meanwhile Gab, a Twitter-esque social media platform beloved by some members of the alt-right for its heavy emphasis on free speech, welcomed Jones with open arms and invited viewers to a 24/7 Infowars live stream.

Apple and Google haven’t banned Infowars apps, and their downloads are booming

Infowars Official, the app named after Alex Jones’ controversial radio talk show, has become the fourth most popular news app in the United States that’s currently available in the iOS App Store, according to public rankings. It was the 47th most popular just two days ago.

The free app, which launched in June, streams live shows and written pieces from Jones and other conservative pundits. It also links to the Infowars store where visitors can buy T-shirts and skincare products. An Android version of the app is available in the Google Play Store; there, it jumped from being the 31st most popular news app to the 11th.

The spike in popularity comes after a number of major platforms dropped Infowars this week on the grounds that the show’s conspiracy theories violate community guidelines. Yesterday, Apple pulled five of Jones’ six Infowars-branded podcasts from its Podcasts app. Since then, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and others have all taken steps to remove Jones’ content from their platforms. Previously, the Alex Jones Channel had more than 2.5 million subscribers.

Following these removals, the Infowars app was flooded with five-star reviews championing the idea of free speech, with titles like “Infowars WILL NOT be silenced.”

“When I have to seek out and search for the information and views I want to hear rather than them be available to me from any and all platforms, I know who’s side is corrupt and treasonous,” said one review. “I was 50/50 on the fence about Alax Jones, but now that they have taken away my rights I’m 100% sure infowars has been truth all along.”

Apple initially banned most of Jones’ content from its Podcast platform for violating rules related to hate speech, according to a statement given to BuzzFeed News. Apple’s guidelines for its App Store, meanwhile, have no such written rules concerning hate speech or conspiratorial content, though they do restrict apps with “content that encourages violence.” Previously, Apple rejected an app for Gab, the social network favored by many alt-right groups, on the grounds that it contained pornographic content.

According to Apple’s guidelines page:

We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it.” And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.

The Google Play Store has clear rules regarding hate speech:

We don’t allow apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

Neither Apple nor Google responded to a request for comment.