By Emily Bary
Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube on Monday joined Apple Inc. in removing Infowars content from its platform.
Facebook disclosed in a blog post that it has “unpublished” four pages related to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website. Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +2.12% said that content posted to these pages violated the company’s policies around violent content and hate speech. In particular, Facebook said that the pages contained content that glorified violence and used “dehumanizing language” in reference to immigrants, Muslims, and transgender people.
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Facebook suspended Alex Jones in July for violating its policies and said at the time that his pages were close to becoming “unpublished.” The company said Monday that its latest actions weren’t in response to fake-news concerns but that it continues to work with fact-checkers to examine the veracity of content posted to its platform.
“All four pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes,” Facebook said on its blog, though the company declined to reveal how many strikes constitute too many. When Facebook unpublishes pages, it gives the creators a chance to appeal the decision. Facebook ultimately removes the pages if a page owner declines to appeal or fails to offer a satisfactory argument.
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Jones’s YouTube page, which had more than 2 million subscribers, also disappeared Monday morning, with a message that it had been “terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +1.14% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +1.17% confirmed the move in an email.
“All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “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.”
Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +3.75% on Sunday said that it removed Alex Jones podcasts, which it deemed to be in violation of the company’s hate-speech policies. Spotify Technology SA /zigman2/quotes/207488629/composite SPOT +2.04% has also removed Jones’ audio content.
Jones responded on Twitter by asking which conservative news outlet would be next to face such moves. He also posted video on his own website on the matter.
Facebook shares were up 2% in Monday trading, while Google was down about 0.5%, Spotify’s stock was up 2.4% and Apple was little changed. The S&P 500
was up 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 0.2%.