Alex Jones is officially no longer welcome on Facebook. He and his right-wing conspirator-owned company Infowars were banned from social networking with a handful of other extremists earlier this month. Jones' YouTube channels were disabled months ago, and their podcast is currently not available on Apple or Google, and their Infowars app is not on the iOS App Store.
But you can Get it on the Google Play Store and install it on your Android device. It's right there.
Apple dropped Infowars out of the store in September 2018, the day after Twitter quit Jones's account. All this happened as part of a continuing libel lawsuit against Jones, which had been brought by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. Jones relentlessly staged the shootout, spurring his audience into a campaign of terrifying harassment. That said, Alex Jones was banned everywhere at the time, and Apple's decision to block his app was relatively late in the saga, and was relatively less controversial in relative terms.
So, why not? Is Google the same? We still do not know it. Google did not explain its reasoning at this point and did not respond to our recent requests for comments.
These are some very tricky, difficult things. All major technology platforms are struggling in public to find the best way to interact with the people and organizations that use their services to promote hate, harassment, violence and dangerous misinformation, while respecting the principles of freedom of expression.
] Some companies, such as Apple, have not apologized for publicly condemning certain numbers and attitudes. Others, like Twitter, seem worried about the prospect of denying anyone the right to tweet terrible things.
Google is unique in that its manifestations are numerous in that there are platforms such as video (YouTube), apps and digital content (Play Store), news curation (Google News), advertising and, of course, search. White supremacy and other forms of hate speech are finding their way into all these corners of the vast Google ecosystem, and in any case, Google needs to decide whether that speech violates its policies or is simply too damaging to allow it to be a home server.
But are the rules for the content of Google Podcasts compared to YouTube different from the Play Store? Why is Alex Jones unacceptable in video or podcast form, but okay as an app? Is not that all the same?
Google has previously blocked apps for violating hate speech. Best known, Google 201
You can still purchase Infowars. It is allowed from 10 years!
Google's rules for recording in the Play Store seem pretty straightforward. They say:
We do not allow apps that promote violence or hatred of 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 linked to systemic discrimination or marginalization.
If we can safely assume that the content of the Infowars app is more or less identical to what was broadcast on the YouTube channels, and I think we can, this is difficult to see, like Infowars does not violate this policy.
When Google banned Gab's app, they declared Ars Technica their argument:
To be in the Play Store, social networking apps should be used. It must have a sufficient level of Also be presented for content that promotes violence and advocates hatred against groups of people. This is a long-standing rule that is clearly defined in our developer guidelines.
Infowars is not a social networking app. Apparently this is primarily a way to consume Infowars content. Exactly this content had to be removed in the YouTube manifestation of Google. It's thought to be the same content from Jones's podcasts, which is nowhere to be found in Google Podcasts.
Also, Infowars is not one of the sources that Google uses (or at least has no way to do) "follow-through" articles curated by Google News. The same content, which is blocked in countless other ways by Google, will continue to be available on Google's official Android app store.
Actual product from the Infowars Store. Bring your children some Brain Force and "Real Red Pill". This is what American families do.
Perhaps it's worth noting that the Infowars app also gives users the ability to order the pseudo-scientific vitamin supplements from Alex Jones. The first screenshot in the Play Store list shows some of the pills you can buy from him. Maybe the rules for hate speech from snake oil traders are different. Someone brings dr. Oz has an angry tirade about how much he hates, I do not know, the Irishman, and we want to see what's going on with his app listing.
Just because Alex Jones and others were banished from platforms is not so That does not mean that you still can not find them, and it definitely does not mean that they are not all kinds of grotesquely racist, violent or conspiratorial content can be found on these platforms. The circumvention of prohibitions has been well documented. If you want to see Infowars content on Facebook and YouTube, you can find it. And if you really want to immerse your amygdala in hate, racism, and anger, you can dive right in and never gasp. Welcome to the internet.
With a quick look through the Play Store and the search queries that are likely to put me on a kind of watchlist, I found several Alex Jones fan apps and apps curating the far right news, radio and podcasting. content. (Louis Farrakhan was banned this month along with Jones and others from Facebook, but the official Android app of the Nation of Islam was easy to find for what it's worth.)
Play Store app search results for "Paul Joseph Watson," another old-right figure locked by Facebook this month.
Search terms related to white supremacist characters sometimes appeared on apps and games with a very sketchy look, and one wonders what kind of developer decides that the names of well-known neo-Nazis are good for SEO keywords ,
What I could not find were official apps for known racist people or institutions. For example, the National Policy Institute of the white supremacist Richard Spencer is not present in the play store either in app or podcast form. ISIS apparently once had a children's app to learn Arabic, but now it is not there.
Nevertheless, the official Android app from Infowars is still here.
Selected Photo Credit: Alex Jones in 2012 using a HTC phone – Photo by Tyler Merbler – CC BY 2.0