It all started with Apple eliminating the entire library of InfoWars podcasts on iTunes and Podcast apps. Then came YouTube and Facebook, both restricting the access to any of the theorist’s uploaded content through channels/pages. Recently, Spotify did the same thing. What these five major social media platforms have in common is that they have banned public content from Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist, in the last 24 hours.
Responding back to the reason behind why they have banned Jones, Apple stated, “We have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users.”
Apple’s initial move on eradicating all episodes from podcasts such as InfoWars, Alex Jones Show, and War Room led to a widespread epidemic among other social media networks to ban any channels regarding the involvement of Alex Jones. Since the beginning of InfoWars in 1999, he has gradually built up a vast audience involving both the supporting and opposing sides. He has been widely rebuked by his conspiracy theories on how the 9/11 attacks in New York have been staged by the American government.
Though his commentaries are utterly unverifiable, he dauntlessly continues on with his absurdity claiming that many of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre were ‘actors’. This provoked a controversy; the parents of two victims in the shooting have stated that he made “false, cruel, and dangerous assertions”, eventually suing him for defamation of the sufferers for at least one million dollars.
But despite his preposterous actions, few right-wing commentators have declared that blocking Jones’ access to the media platform poses a challenge to the first amendment of the United States Constitution, which is the freedom of speech. True, social media offers a clear promise to its users: post what you want, search what you want.
Thus, Jones chastised the actions of the social networking sites in a ludicrous tone; “This is the modern day electronic equivalent of book burning,” a post on the site reads. “This is throwing dissidents in the Big Tech gulag because their voices were becoming too loud and having too much influence. This is the purge. This is election meddling and COLLUSION.”
However, behind the facade of the promise they have made to its users, certain rules have always existed beneath. Before all users finish their registration for a specific media platform, it is required for them to agree to the Terms of Service. It is clearly reported that when they violate these policies (notable ones against hate speech and harassment), the companies terminate certain accounts based on their terms.
But this holds a new question: Will banning the content of Alex Jones in major media publications be able to cease his provocative actions? Blatantly debatable, we can likely surmise this; with his stubborn personality, he will repeatedly evoke making contentious commentaries.
Jessica Jimin Kim, Grade 10
Chadwick International School