A ‘third strike’ for InfoWars

Infowars Ban Youtube
Now that they have, both companies stand accused of censorship by Jones and his followers. And yet, if Disney, Fox, or Comcast opted not to air InfoWars, it’d be considered a programming decision. The site’s second strike followed a few days later and involved similar claims.

If News Corp didn’t give him a column in The Wall Street Journal, or if The New York Times didn’t publish his op-ed, it’d be considered editorial discretion. Facebook and YouTube are media giants, too, worth more than all of those other companies combined. But they’ve never wanted to admit it. They continue to refuse the characterization to their own detriment. It was their own mythology about being neutral, coupled with the opacity of their algorithms and moderation practices, that enabled people like Jones—and more than a few Republican members of Congress—to baselessly accuse the companies of secret censorship in the first place. Now that they actually have restricted Jones’ access, Facebook and YouTube have only given him more fodder to back up that particular conspiracy theory.

YouTube’s decision to terminate Jones’ account comes after he tried to circumvent a 90-day live streaming ban by promoting a different live stream on other channels. After giving Jones a warning, the company learned of the violation and saw fit to terminate the channel. Facebook and other social media companies are not just massive corporations; they’re vehicles for millions of people to share their personal views and perspectives. Many observers believe that shutting out a specific entity because of their speech doesn’t bode well for them, or others, especially when “hate speech” is at issue. The rules determining what hate speech actually is are often vague at best.

The Alex Jones Channel, which counts 2.4 million subscribers, still appeared in YouTube search results by midday Monday but presented only a take-down notice when users clicked in.

In July, Facebook removed four of Jones’ videos and hit his own personal profile with a 30-day ban over what the firm deemed as a violation of its policies on bullying and hate speech. The company said at the time the official Infowars page, among others where Jones was an administrator, was getting close to the threshold of being banned from the site due to repeated violations.

The move represents the ‘third strike’ for InfoWars, which received its first in February for ‘harassment and bullying’, after posting videos claiming that the Parkland shooting survivors were crisis actors – a claim that would be laughable were it not also so callous. Jones claimed that YouTube would delete his channel, which currently has “33 thousand” videos and more than 1.5 billion views.

“If they are committed to disinformation, they do have to kick Alex Jones.”.

Last time Alex Jones received what at the time would be his second strike, YouTube had bundled two Parkland shooting conspiracy videos into a single strike. “All the leftist garbage, they p*ss on our grave and on the billions of views, and 2.5 million subscribers and all the work and amazing interviews we have done,” Jones said. Infowars has the removed videos front and center on its homepage at the moment in a piece called “Watch These Videos YouTube Doesn’t Want You To See.” The author complains that the videos shouldn’t have been banned because they were shown “in a news, documentary, scientific, or artistic context.”. In a statement, YouTube said that all users agree to comply with its terms of service and community guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube. President Trump tweeted this morning to accuse Twitter of “shadow banning” prominent Republicans by demoting them in Twitter’s search box. “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,” the company said. . “Alex Jones never should’ve been allowed to get this far-spreading hate,” said Shaun King, a popular columnist who writes about race and justice issues.

Indeed, an argument could be made that this could end up benefiting Jones thanks to the increased awareness. The InfoWars app, for instance, is still the fourth most popular free app in the App Store’s news category. That’s something Twitter characterized as a bug and quickly fixed, but it’s made supposed censorship by Silicon Valley platforms a hot topic for far-right personalities like Jones, who’s calling the topic “Big Tech’s Murder of Free Speech” today. And while the different platforms have shut Jones down, people can still go visit his site. . On the flip side, “this was not about right or left, but right and wrong,” tweeted Sleeping Giants, a group for social media activists.

However, those videos were posted within days of each other. The publish dates for the four videos bundled in the most recent strike span over 3 months, from May to July of this year.

That’s not how the account termination process works. YouTube applies strikes, which the channel owner can then appeal.

If a channel gets three strikes within a three-month period, the channel is terminated.

You can read more about how this process works here. But since a rise of misinformation online around elections, such as the 2016 presidential vote, the tech companies have faced increasing calls from lawmakers and the news media to address their role in that spread of false information and a related increase in partisan divisions. The tech companies have recently stepped up enforcement — but that has led to accusations of political bias, largely from conservatives. YouTube removed Infowars channels as well, including the most popular: The Alex Jones Channel, which had 2.4 million subscribers.

For now, the Infowars app is still available in Apple’s U.S. iPhone App Store, where it is the no. Jones’s podcasts can still be downloaded via RSS feed. 37 ranked news app, just above Bloomberg’s; it’s possible Apple will pull the plug there, too. Jones told The Washington Post that the termination of his accounts across multiple platforms today was “a counter-strike against the global awakening.” “You’re on the wrong side of history mainstream media,” he said. @RealAlexJones still has his Twitter account, where he has 830,000 followers; @Infowars has another 418,000. Last week, podcast platform Stitcher also pulled all of Jones’ episodes and Facebook had earlier suspended Jones’ personal account, and YT took down a number of videos from his InfoWars channel for violating “policies against child endangerment and hate speech.” On July 9, Jones launched his free InfoWars app, which he’s been encouraging his followers to download. In the wake of these bans, Jones quickly took to a live video stream, available at Infowars.com as well as on Twitter, to denounce the technology giants banning him from these platforms.

“All of these social media platforms will make all these speeches and press releases that they’re really committed to ending disinformation on their platform, but they’re not really,” said Alice Marwick, a communications professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

In response to our query about Jones’ removal, a YouTube spokesperson said that accounts are terminated for users who “repeatedly violate their policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures.”.

The controversial nature of Infowars prompted journalists and the public to question why Facebook and YouTube allowed the site’s content onto their platforms as both companies fight fake news and abuse. Last month, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to defend permitting Infowars on his site, claiming he was protecting free speech, but his comments simply stoked more controversy. The mounting pressure appears to have forced the whole tech industry to act.

Jones has reacted to his “censorship” on Twitter, the only platform which has not taken action against him. In response to being banned on the internet, he said, “All I can say is that we’ve been shadowbanned and quite frankly it’s only made us stronger.”.

“You sold the country out, and now you’re going to pay for it.”.
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