Censorship or justice? Twitter debate rages over tech giants’ simultaneous InfoWars ban
InfoWars Editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson tweeted on Monday that Facebook had “permanently banned” the outlets page for “unspecified” hate speech and described the move as setting a “chilling precedent for free speech”.
Facebook confirmed the banning in a blog post, saying the four InfoWars pages were targeted due to “repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes”. In a statement, Apple said it “does not tolerate hate speech” and said it believes in “representing a wide range of views” so long as people are “respectful” of those with differing opinions.
YouTube quickly followed suit with a statement that said Jones’ account had been “terminated for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines”. Spotify said it had removed all of Jones’ podcast episodes due to “hate content”.
Twitter has been flooded with reactions to the decisions. Some people were delighted to see the controversial host banned and expressed disappointment that Twitter had not yet moved against InfoWars.
Apple removing Alex Jones & Infowars isn’t some terrible form of censorship against conservatives.— emilia (@PoliticalEmilia) August 6, 2018
He’s said Sandy Hook wasn’t real.
He’s suing parents from the school.
He said the Holocaust wasn’t real.
He’s not just a conservative.
He’s a conspiracy theorist who hurts people.
apple, youtube, and spotify banning alex jones for violating their "no promoting violence/hate speech" rules while he's left to spew his garbage all over twitter should tell you everything you need to know about this website's management— 🐢 bob 📼 (@bobvids) August 6, 2018
Others were less pleased with the decision and said it was nothing more than censorship of conservative and right wing voices, with one user suggesting it amounted to “online apartheid”.
What tech lords are doing to InfoWars is happening to hundreds of thousands of free thinking patriots, my account @olimauritania was permanently banned from Twitter 3 weeks ago for no reason. Speak out now against censorship while you still can.#FreeInfoWars— Adorable Deplorable (@OliFatouAisha) August 6, 2018
The empire strikes back: Apple, Spotify, Facebook and Google/Youtube all purge Infowars/Alex Jones. Yes, Infowars has frequent nonsense, but also a state power critique. Which publisher in the world with millions of subscribers is next to be wiped out for cultural transgression? https://t.co/XAEQWr58hw— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 6, 2018
Some also noted the curious way that Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify all decided to ban Jones at exactly the same time, despite the fact that he had been active on their platforms for years. Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted that Jones was “the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants”.
So, remember when Big Tech pretended to not all act in concert with one another? Today they all banned Alex Jones together within hours— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 6, 2018
However you feel about #AlexJones or #Infowars, banning people/services from platforms is not good.— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) August 6, 2018
But the most worrying aspect is that these supposedly independent companies - #Apple, #Google, #Facebook#Spotify - all took the same exact action on the same exact day.
US President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale even weighed in on the debate, appearing to endorse a suggestion that Facebook should have “a transparent database showing banned accounts” which explains exactly why an account is in violation of its rules.
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