Can Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Vimeo, and Apple Silence You?


Alyssa Urff, Reporter

On August 6, 2018, Alex Jones from Infowars was simultaneously indefinitely terminated from Youtube, Spotify, and  Apple Itunes. On August 12th, 2018 Vimeo also decided to remove his content and  revoke his privilege to post. Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist, film maker, videographer, and radio host.  Infowars is Jones’ news outlet and media platform. His Facebook account was also suspended for 30 days. He was reportedly banned due to violating hate-speech policies and abusing his use of the various media platforms. However, Jones’ exact upload, comment, or post that violated the rules, has not been specifically pinpointed and released.  Jones has not been removed from Twitter or his InfoWars app, an application created to spread news/media, and has not been removed from The Google Play Store and Apple App Store. 

Alex Jones has been a controversial person of news. He has been under heat after his conspiracies of the planning of the September 11th Attacks, the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting being a hoax, and NASA’s moon landing being fake. Jones’ words have been noted to be offensive, demeaning, and wrong. Jones and InfoWars have been temporarily banned, suspended, and/or removed in the past. This is not the first time that he has been in trouble for violating online rules. This is just the last time for many media platforms.

Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, released a statement on Twitter’s decision to not ban Alex Jones. Dorsey said on Twitter:

jack@jack 18h We didn't suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that's hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn't violated our rules. We'll enforce if he does. And we'll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren't artificially amplified jack @jack 18h Truth is we've been terrible at explaining our decisions in the past. We're fixing that. We're going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories. jack@jack 18h 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. That's not us
Source: Twitter

Twitter has been receiving harsh criticism due to their decision of not removing Jones from the platform. Instagram has not yet released a statement. Youtube, Facebook, Spotify, and Apple have not explicitly detailed their reasons in any statements beyond stating that Jones violated hate-speech and other rules.

Alex Jones Censorship Snapchat
Source: Google Images

Jones also released a statement, stating that, he believes it is an attack against him, his platform, and all American citizens’ right to free speech. He believes his banning is a turning point and concerning wake-up-call for all of The United States.

While Alex Jones has been removed from various platforms, his app and website continue on in the realm of distributing his media. Additionally, since the ban happened, his website and app have been getting more views and downloads.

The situation highlights the problems for many social media platforms and news outlets. It’s the recurring issue of where to draw the line in the sand between freedom of speech and hate speech.