Facing mounting scrutiny for allowing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to remain on the platform, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave an exclusive radio interview to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday, explaining how such decisions are made.
Spotify joined in by completely removing "The Alex Jones Show" from its platform.
Jones, who has 858,000 followers on Twitter, has built up his profile while promulgating conspiracy theories, including the claim that the 9/11 terror attacks were carried out by the government.
"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", Jack writes. But Apple said it continues 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". YouTube recently removed Alex Jones' and InfoWars' channels, but similarly to Apple, the InfoWars app remains available in the Google Play Store.
A deeper dive into Apple's guidelines says the company bans apps that feature "content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, meant to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste", according to Buzzfeed News.
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Dorsey said Twitter would hold Jones to the same standard as it does every account.
Dorsey called on journalists to "document, validate, and refute" information posted by accounts like Jones' "so people can form their own opinions". The fringe broadcaster has used social media to push conspiracy theories, including that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked, as well as hateful and false comments toward immigrants, transgender people and the Black Lives Matter movement. It has suggested that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, and that the September 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job orchestrated by the USA government. (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.
The Infowars app contains only rebroadcasts of the current day's episodes, subjecting a much smaller set of content to the rules.
Some users caught an Orwellian vibe to the policy and suggested it's unacceptable for a social media platform to poke its nose in what they're doing when not logged on.