Alex Jones took another major blow this week.
Apple confirmed the InfoWars app’s removal to Buzzfeed News after users noticed it was missing on Friday evening and no longer showed up in the App Store’s search results.
The App Store removal shouldn’t surprise anyone. In early August, Apple removed five InfoWars podcasts, including War Room and The Alex Jones Show, from iTunes and the Podcasts app.
An Apple spokesperson told Mashable at the time the company “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.”
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on why it finally banned the InfoWars app, but didn’t receive a response by publishing time. We’ll update this story if we do.
As Buzzfeed News notes from Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, the first clause explicitly states “Apps should not include content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste”:
1.1.1 Defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or place a targeted individual or group in harm’s way. Professional political satirists and humorists are generally exempt from this requirement.
Ultimately, most people can probably agree with Apple’s latest decision. Many were left scratching their heads after Jones’ podcasts were removed, but the app wasn’t.
Apple’s statement on not removing the InfoWars app in early August:
“We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions, and follow our clear guidelines, ensuring the App Store is a safe marketplace for all. We continue 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.”
The ball’s now in Google’s court. As of publishing time, the InfoWars app is still available for download in the Google Play Store for Android devices.
Will Google follow suit and take away another platform for Jones to distribute its conspiracy theories and fake news? It has a responsibility to do so.