- The Facts:Platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify and Apple have all banned Infowars and Alex Jones. These bans came within hours to days from one another, all citing an end to ‘hate-speech’ on their platforms. Twitter has chosen not to ban.
- Reflect On:What is considered hate speech today? Is it the job of social media sites to politically lean? What precedent is set with a ban like this? Might this extend to less extreme voices? Are we not able to think and discern for ourselves?
Beginning August 4th, 2018, major social media content platform giants Apple, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify all banned Infowars and Alex Jones from their respective platforms.
Each platform gave a simple and succinct reason: they don’t support hate speech on their platform. Interestingly, each and every platform stated the same thing. In the days that followed, more companies like MailChimp, LinkedIn and Pinterest also banned Jones and Infowars from the platform, again citing the same reasons.
Apple for example stated to BuzzFeed News, “Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” adding, “podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory.”
Let’s go even further, the full list of companies to have banned Infowars altogether up until now: Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Google Podcast, Spotify, TuneIn, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Audioboom, Pinterest, MailChimp, Stitcher, Disqus, Sprout Social, and LinkedIn.
What many seem to be overlooking in this are two key things:
1. The major bans all came within 24 hours of one another, followed by the rest over the next couple of days
2. By banning alleged ‘hate speech,’ a precedent is set for what can happen to any journalist that crosses the imaginary line of what the mainstream will accept.
Recently, Twitter has made headlines as they have not succumbed to the public shaming and political pressure to ban Alex and Infowars. Left-leaning Vox was critical of Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey for not banning Infowars stating: