Hexbyte Tech News Wired Facebook and YouTube Ban InfoWars but Invite New Headaches

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Ilana Panich-Linsman/Redux

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Ilana Panich-Linsman/Redux

Early Monday morning, Apple pulled several podcasts associated with notorious conspiracy theorist and protein powder peddler Alex Jones from the iTunes store. The decision opened the floodgates to a wave of suspensions that continued throughout the day. First came Facebook, which said it unpublished four pages affiliated with Jones after receiving new reports over the weekend that videos on those pages violated Facebook’s policies on hate speech. Hours later, YouTube followed suit, suspending The Alex Jones Channel, which had more than 2.4 million subscribers as of Monday morning. According to YouTube, Jones had tried to circumvent the company’s prohibition on his livestreams, which was enacted after he received a punitive strike from the platform in July.

The sudden crackdown followed weeks of mounting questions being lobbed at both Facebook and YouTube about why, if they were really committed to eradicating hate speech and disinformation, they would allow someone like Jones to continue cultivating an audience on their platforms. But even critics of Jones and InfoWars, his right-wing media outlet, viewed Facebook and YouTube’s actions on Monday as reactive and self-interested, coming just hours after Apple’s announcement. At the same time, the companies played right into Jones’ hand, adding fuel to his paranoid claims that Silicon Valley and the mainstream media have launched a coordinated campaign to silence him.

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