YouTube removes Alex Jones' channel for violating its community guidelines

Tech companies gave massive platforms to conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones. Is the crackdown finally here

Facebook's and YouTube's enforcement action against Jones came hours after Apple removed Jones from its podcast directory on 6 August.

Over the past week, Apple, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube each banned or removed content from Jones' pages, channels and his website Infowars from their platforms, citing community guidelines against hate speech.

In the same thread, Dorsey said Twitter in the past has "been bad at explaining our decisions" but that they're "fixing that".

In this file photo, Alex Jones from Infowars.com speaks during a rally in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, 2016.

"If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that's constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction".

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A number of platforms have reached a different conclusion, as the crackdown on Jones intensified this week. Earlier this week, Apple removed five of InfoWars' six podcasts from its iTunes and Podcasts apps.

Jones' YouTube channel which had 2.4 million subscribers now bears the message- "This account has been terminated for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines". The decision to completely pull the other shows, including "The Alex Jones Show" and "War Room", represents a broader effort than those made by other companies in recent days to stop disseminating material associated with Jones, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America". Twitter has recently stepped up actions against fake accounts, but the company has admitted that it has no "scalable policy or set of product features around authenticity of content".

Jones has a history of promoting conspiracy theories, such as his false claim that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. "And if you make the fact we need an Internet Bill of Rights, and antitrust-busting on these companies, if they don't back off right now", Jones said.

Horne, who now works for the Brookings Institution, said the company's error lay in attempting to separate online behavior from offline activity, arguing that Jones's digital communications "encourage followers to harass/harm people offline". In addition, Facebook and Spotify have deleted more of Jones' content, after removing some content last week.

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