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Facebook, Apple, YouTube remove most of U.S. conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' content

37 Comments
By Rich McKay

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Hate speech and falsehoods divide us. While free speech may be an overall good in the public square, I applaud these platforms for removing hate speech and lies.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Conspiracy theorists tend to be unintelligent people with very fragile egos. They want to feel more intelligent than others by seeing the ‘truth’ the others can’t and react badly to criticism of them. A sad pathology.

However, I’m not sure it’s right to silence these clowns even when they veer off from the plain stupid to the plain nasty.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I think Alex Jones is a nut and I do not agree with what he says but I have read his stuff and that of one of his associates, Paul Joseph Watson. They have some wild theories and not all of them have proven to be false. Again, I still think he is nuts.

However, censoring alternative views one does not like is dangerous and those in favor of censoring Mr. Jones may find themselves on the wrong end of censorship some day if someone does not like what they say.

Twitter has chosen not to censor Alex Jones as they cannot find anything promoting violence or hateful published by Alex Jones. When I have read his website I have not found anything promoting violence either.

There is now also a push to censor "climate deniers". I am a scientist and I believe man is contributing to the warming of the planet however there is no way I want alternative views censored. That is not science.

We are definitely headed down a slippery (well many) slippery paths.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I guess one other point to consider. Who defines "hate speech"? I believe that those immigrating to the U.S. should follow the proper process. Some deem that hate speech (yes, really) therefore should this point of view be expunged? This is pretty scary stuff.

The NY Times hired Sarah Jeong, she had some very terrible and racist things to say about White men. Is this acceptable or should it be censored. Should Facebook delete her (as she said should be done to white men)?

Finally Facebook has not censored Louis Farrahkhan who has said some of the most vile things about Jewish people I have heard. Why not remove Farrahkhan as well?

All of these are relevant as they beg the question; where is the line drawn?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Were the federal government trying to silence Mr. Jones, I can guarantee you his loudest defenders would be some of the most left-leaning, progressive voices in the land. We know what the First Amendment means.

But Apple and Spotify and other non-governmental entities owe him no explanation at all, if that’s their desire. They could simply say, “Meh. We don’t much care for him.” And they would legally be within their rights to do so.

I don’t understand why the right has such difficulty understanding that the First Amendment applies to government suppression of speech only.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Social media platforms are private entities and can do what they want.

However the silencing of Alex Jones "for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies." will be viewed as hypocritical and based on a double standard. There are oodles of people and groups both left and right wing who use such language about others. How about banning Antifa? Milo Yiannopolous? Black Lives Matter? If that's thier standard they have to ban oodles of people and groups.

This is nothing more than social media platforms banding together to silence speech that THEY don't like.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@The Avenger - I am in agreement with your post.

You are correct this is not a First Amendment issue. Facebook, Apple, and Spotify owe him no explanation.

However I believe the users of these platforms should challenge Facebook, Apple, and Spotify and ask why Louis Farrakhan still allowed to be on their platform as Farrakhan has said things far more vitriolic and hateful than Alex Jones. The users should also inquire as to why Sarah Jeong still has a platform and also ask what specific things Alex Jones said led to this ban. But you and I know this will not happen.

Again, this is well within their right to decide (as you very correctly state in my opinion) who gets to "play" however I believe they are tipping their hand as to where their (obvious) bias is (and I am rather Liberal by the way).

As for me I will visit Infowars now and again and continue to see what they say. Sometimes it is very laughable and other times it is quite interesting. I am older and I have learned it is always interesting to see all points of view and then apply my own filter rather than having others filter out what they deem to be "wrong" or "inappropriate". Fortunately the government has not (yet) banned the so called alternative media.

There has always been an attempt to try to "shape the message" by those with powerful interests and alternative views such as Infowars, Wikileaks, etc. are not in the best interest of those in power. The media of control has shifted from the newspaper to the T.V. and finally to the Internet.

Will Artificial Intelligence some day be used to filter out what we commoners are allowed to see and read? It would not surprise me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hmmm. Those who support Jones and his lies aren't really supporting free speech.

They are supporting incitement to hatred and violence. They are promoting bizarre right wing conspiracy theories. Wish his fans would be more honest about it.

Thank goodness that trash hasn't infected Japan.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

When authoritarians start suppressing speech like this, then you know they are the enemy of civil discourse.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

These are not authoritarians, as they are not authorities. Everyone seems to have forgotten that these are private services, that people choose to use. No one is required to use them. On top of this, competing services are free to start up to fill any void, and anyone who wants to use those competing services is more than welcome to. There is nothing authoritative about any of these services. They are simply commercial organizations who are making money by providing a service where users can contribute content.

As such, organizations are free to choose what content they want to allow, and what they don't, as well as how they decide to promote that content, and which content they promote.

If there is a problem to be resolved, it will naturally be resolved due to the free market. If enough people want to hear what Alex Jones and Infowars want to say, services will spring up to give a platform for Alex Jones to say his stuff. If it turns out that the audience for the platform isn't large enough to economically support it, then it will fail, and that will just mean that society doesn't give a damn what he has to say. If the platform thrives, then it will show society does care. Either way, if there is a problem to be solved here, it will solve itself.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are many conspiracies out there, many have been proven. But Alex Jones is disinformation, saying silly things and acting crazy so that the public end up saying things like:

Conspiracy theorists tend to be unintelligent people with very fragile egos.

Funny that we never hear of the good "conspiracy theorists" on the MSM.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Finally Facebook has not censored Louis Farrahkhan who has said some of the most vile things about Jewish people I have heard. Why not remove Farrahkhan as well?

This is a very good point. I remember Twitter banning the irritating and repulsive performance artist Milo while allowing foul bigotry to go on.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good comments above, all of them. I would err on the side of free speech, at least as a practical measure - in today's world, there are too many platforms to eradicate completely, Perhaps flagging a commentary as hate speech would be better than censoring it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Raw Beer

Interesting. Can I ask what conspiracy theories are legitimate? I have a list which gets lots of comical and evasive answers. Here’s a taste:

The holocaust was a hoax.

9/11 was an inside job.

Obama is not a US citizen.

The moon landings were faked.

Climate change is a hoax involving the vast majority of bought and paid-for scientists around the world.

What’s your take on these ideas and could you outline your conspiracy theories which proved to be true?

Funny that we never hear of the good "conspiracy theorists" on the MSM.

Please elaborate.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

That won't be necessary. This story is about Alex Jones' content.

This story is about Alex Jones' content.

Eww. I'd prefer not to wade into that swamp. I think many JT posters are similar: third-party references are sufficient, and they'll search them out, wherever they are.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Jimizo,

Alex is a nut but he has pointed out that the gulf of tonkin incident was a false flag and this has been proven. G.O.T.I was the start of the vietnam war btw.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There's a fine line between 'conspiracy theory' and 'negationism' and Alex Jones imo often indulges in some sort of 'deflective negationism'; he distorts 'the truth' (established facts) rather than offers alternative theories/explanations.

Re conspiracy theorists, let's not forget that neocons, Bush, Blair & Howard all stated that WMD doubters (led by germany, france & russia) were dangerous 'conspiracy theorists'. Morale of the story: ppl, especially pollies, who swiftly play the 'look, these guys are all conspiracy theorists' card are often as dangerous -if not more- than the so called CT.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So they remove his content but allow hate speech from radicals, Democrats and racists, to stay?

Definitely something afoot here.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Took them long enough, complaints were ignored and it's only when sponsors started to object that action was taken.

The man is vile and a liar.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Alex Jones is an idiot of the utmost extreme.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

JimizoToday 10:19 am JSTFinally Facebook has not censored Louis Farrahkhan who has said some of the most vile things about Jewish people I have heard. Why not remove Farrahkhan as well?

This is a very good point. I remember Twitter banning the irritating and repulsive performance artist Milo while allowing foul bigotry to go on.

Farrahkhan has said some vile things about white people and other groups too. He tells his followers that an evil black scientist named Yacub 'invented' white people and that they are incapable of any good, that they are naturally EVIL. Read the 'Autobiography of Malcolm X' - this is what he said after he left the Nation of Islam and renounced its hate creeds.

Screwy Louie Farrahkan gets hyper-in-the-diaper when he makes his loony rallies. He recently announced that 'we're gonna tear this GD nation apart!'. Some Muslim he turned out to be. So yes, this crackpot needs to taken off too - racism is racism, and there is evidence that played a role in the murder of Malcolm X. That's what dangerous cults do when a bird flies away and sings.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The list items to wipe out: Alex Jones info.(not only but) + all biased sources (exp. xenophobic, racist)+ brainwashing cult subjects + immoral acts of morons + fraudulent activities + harmful and destructive images + fake messages/ images(anyone knows that's fake), etc. All of those I've seen since 2007 and they are still there at one of those SNS websites.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The right to freedom of speech does not entitle one to the use of a particular forum. The US supreme court has previously ruled that public schools and workplaces are able to infringe on the first amendment rights of students and workers in those spaces. One would assume by extension that a person causing a disturbance in a privately owned business could be ejected for violating the rules of that establishment. This is not any different. All of these companies should take a hard look at users who repeatedly violate their rules, and ban them where such action is warranted.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Alot of people like to point out that these are private companies who should be allowed to set their own policies, but one thing that is often overlooked is that they would not exist if it weren't for government legislation which defines them as internet intermediaries and shields them from liability.

Sites like Youtube and Facebook would have been sued out of existence a long time ago through defamation claims if it weren't for these special protections granted to only the largest internet companies. I think it's reasonable for the government to insist on a free speech standard equal to the 1st amendment in exchange for this protection. Otherwise it should be repealed and we should go back to treating Facebook and Youtube as a content publisher just like every other website on the internet.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Alex Jones is an idiot of the utmost extreme.

Trump thinks he’s great.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Well, I just think some of Alex Jones conspiracy videos could be allowed to be shown with the purpose of people who check the videos observe: -A good example of who not to be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alex Jones is an idiot of the utmost extreme.

Anyone who says that is a Liberal. He reported on Hillary's pizzagate and it's the real truth. Also, he is a friend and adviser of Trump.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Setting aside ethics, politics and everything else, my goblin-heart sings with joy. Alex Jones is a complete and utter moron. I don't know how he got so unhinged. I've seen old clips with him where he's actually coherent. Something went very wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo-EngrToday  07:59 am JST

However, censoring alternative views one does not like is dangerous

Nothing that happened in this story has any connection to censorship. Alex Jones has not been censored. He lost a relationship with a commercial publisher. That's how the free market works.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well, Trump wanted to ban fake news. Looks like he’s getting his wish.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thank goodness that trash hasn't infected Japan.

Pretty naive, it's closer than you think :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am sure this thread is dying out but it is interesting how the craziness is coming from both sides of the political aisle now. Worry not there is fodder for both "sides" here as this cancer of not tolerating alternative points of view is finding its way (and I think will eventually entrench itself) into government.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-poll-43-of-republicans-want-to-give-trump-the-power-to-shut-down-media

https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/31/democrats-tech-policy-plans-leaked

Maybe Mr. Orwell was a true visionary after all.

And even the Libertarians are being struck down.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-07/crackdown-continues-twitter-suspends-libertarian-accounts-including-ron-paul

Perhaps the answer is to ban all media (SIC)....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tokyo-EngrToday  08:17 am JST

I am sure this thread is dying out but it is interesting how the craziness is coming from both sides of the political aisle now.

"Both sides" are not calling into news stations threatening to murder journalists. "Both sides" aren't applauding the caging of innocent children just because they're people of color. "Both sides" aren't believers in farcical conspiracy theories about top-security officials posting bread crumb hints on 4chan. "Both sides" don't murder peaceful counter-protesters at Neo-Nazi rallies. Only one side does these things, and that side isn't the left.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Alt-right boys & girls active on this forum are worried as they need 'feed' to compose their nonsense :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NetgrumpToday  05:36 pm JST

The Alt-right boys & girls active on this forum are worried as they need 'feed' to compose their nonsense :)

I always figured Putin's "Internet Research Agency" had a more direct line to its operatives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 I always figured Putin's "Internet Research Agency" had a more direct line to its operatives.

That doesn't make sense, as the Alt Right mov seems to receive aid from Trumps external advisor, you should have known that :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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