“Apple Inc. removed links from its podcast directory to content from controversial far-right site Infowars, thrusting the tech giant into the debate over how internet platforms should handle divisive or offensive content,” Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The iPhone maker said Sunday that it eliminated Infowars from its directory over the weekend for failing to comply with guidelines that are designed to create a safe environment for users, including prohibitions on ‘hate themes.'”

“Eliminating easy access to Infowars podcasts marks a rare, prominent foray for Apple into an issue confronting many major internet companies: how to remove hateful or conspiratorial messages from their platforms without infringing on free speech,” Mickle reports. “Infowars, a site that frequently promotes conspiracy theories, and its host Alex Jones have often been at the center of the debate over controversial content.”

“Apple doesn’t host podcasts. Instead, podcast creators host the media files and submit a podcast feed for inclusion in Apple’s iTunes Store podcast directory. That makes the podcast easier to find on one of the 1.3 billion Apple devices worldwide. When podcasts that don’t comply with its rules are removed from Apple’s directory, they are no longer searchable or available for download or streaming,” Mickle reports. “Apple didn’t specify what part of Infowars’ content violated its rules.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Of course, the inherent danger of censorship is that you make the censored more alluring by elevating their musings into ideas too “dangerous” to hear.

Obviously, this could be a slippery slope. For example, CEO Tim Cook, and by extension, Apple, are very big environmentalists and proponents of the reduction of carbon footprints, multinational treaties in service of dealing with anthropogenic climate change, etc. What happens to podcasts of anyone questioning the usefulness of certain treaties, datasets, estimates, projections, or the amount of human contribution to climate change?

As always in circumstances like these, where’s the line? Apple can certainly determine what constitutes “hate speech” for their service(s) and act accordingly, but as censorship increases, usefulness and breadth will naturally decrease.

Note also that Infowars.com’s The Alex Jones Show and other podcasts are readily availble elsewhere via Stitcher and other outlets.

Unlike Apple, it seems, we trust the intelligence of our readers to be able to listen to what they want and decide for themselves who to ignore and who to follow.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. — Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Apple removes most of Alex Jones’ Infowars podcasts from iTunes Store – August 6, 2018
Apple signs on to full page ‘open letter’ ad urging President Trump to keep U.S. in Paris Agreement on climate change – June 1, 2017