Infowars app surges in popularity after tech platforms move against Alex Jones

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Apple will continue to allow the InfoWars mobile app on its App Store even after removing nearly all of the podcast episodes associated with Alex Jones' conspiracy-theory website from its platforms.

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".

Jones' podcasts differed from the Infowars app in a key way.

'We continue to monitor apps for violations of our guidelines and if we find content that violates our guidelines and is harmful to users we will remove those apps from the store as we have done previously, ' Apple said.

Earlier this week, Apple, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify removed Infowars podcasts and channels from their platforms, saying that host Jones had broken community standards.

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But Web users can still access Infowars through its website and through the same tech companies that just banned it. Google offers the Infowars app for Android users, and Apple customers can download it through the App Store. The app lets users stream broadcasts which don't remain on the app, making them harder to review for policy violations, whereas the podcasts are archived and easily reviewable. (In fact, the terms of service for Infowars.com itself includes such a provision.) It's also worth noting that the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment does not protect defamatory speech or incitements to violence. When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.

Jones has also targeted eight other Sandy Hook families in the same way.

While I am not a listener or supporter of Mr. Jones', his audience has every right to watch his videos and listen to him and connect with him online. He added that Infowars had "not violated something that would result in them being taken down". He described it as "the one platform that they CAN'T ban". Jones reportedly said Parkland, Fla., shooting survivors interviewed by the news media were actors and compared student David Hogg to members of the Nazi Party.

At the same time, we're learning more and more about how digital platforms were used as tools to spread false information and influence both the 2016 USA presidential election and the UK Brexit referendum.

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