Infowars app downloads surge after tech giants ban Alex Jones content from platforms
It would seem that the decision by several tech giants to remove Infowars content from their platforms, citing hate speech, may be having the opposite effect.
Just days after Facebook, Apple and YouTube removed content and podcasts from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his brand, Infowars, from their platforms, the Infowars mobile app surged in popularity in the United States.
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The Infowars app is currently the fourth most popular news app in Apple’s App Store and the 11th most popular news app in Google’s Play Store. The spike comes after Apple pulled five of Jones’ podcasts from its Podcasts app. In the same week, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify followed suit, pulling a variety of Jones’ content from their channels as well.
So far, Twitter is the only major social network that’s declined to remove Jones’ content from its channels. In a statement on the site, Twitter creator and CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, saying Jones hadn’t violated any rules but that the site would make sure Jones’ content wasn’t “artificially amplified.”
“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,” he wrote.
In addition to the bump in downloads, the Infowars app was also flooded with five-star reviews and comments citing censorship on the part of the tech giants who pulled Jones’ content.
“When I have to seek out and search for the information and views I want to hear rather than them be available to me from any and all platforms, I know who’s side is corrupt and treasonous,” said one review. “I was 50/50 on the fence about Alax Jones, but now that they have taken away my rights I’m 100% sure infowars has been truth all along.”
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When Apple banned the podcast over the weekend, it released a statement referring to the content of the podcast as hate speech.
“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.”
Apple did not respond to inquiries from BuzzFeed News about why the company allowed the app to remain in the App Store if the podcast had been removed.
Both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store have rules regarding hate speech outlined on their platforms.
“We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, ‘I’ll know it when I see it.’ And we think that you will also know it when you cross it,” Apple’s guidelines page reads.
Google’s guidelines page offers more specific regulations.
“We don’t allow apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization,” reads the Google Play Store guidelines page.
Jones has tweeted his criticism of the removal over the past week.
Political science professor Joseph Uscinski told Global News this week that the narrative of Jones’ situation might even make his message more attractive to those who don’t trust authority.
“The big corporations and the big government have censored these ideas,” he said. “It’s only going to make them more alluring.”
— With files from Global News’ Josh Elliot.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.