Apple’s ‘Infowars’ move thrusts tech giant into the debate over censoring content on internet platforms

“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

SEE ALSO:
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

60 Comments

  1. This move to shutdown Alex Jones could result in Democrats losing the midterms and Trump not being impeached.

    I believe Donald Trump and Republicans who support Donald Trump are traitors. These people are destroying democracy and the right to vote. It’s a war. In the scales of justice, I believe a traitor is worse than a murderer.

    But, I believe free speech is more important than having traitors in our midst. Thus, those that try to suppress free speech by eliminating voices of descent (Trump, social media platforms, etc.) are worse than mass murders. Mass murders kill dozens of people, but those who kill free speech kill a Nation. Shame on them.

  2. Apple has a monopoly on podcast distribution, time to break up the monopoly. Funny how these libtard companies in SJW valley think they are gods, they’ll have their assets handed to them before they know what hit them. You take Alex Jones for now, we’ll take 20 more electoral votes in 2020, braindead progressive losers.

    1. The first semi-cogent argument from the right on this topic (at least the first sentence is).

      We’ve let these multinational corporations grow way too large. Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple: all monopolies of various markets. Amazon has a monopoly on internet retail shopping and books, Google has a monopoly on mobile and desktop web search, Facebook has a monopoly on social media, and Apple has a monopoly on podcast distribution. 😉

      1. None of those companies has a monopoly. They have competitors. The competitors have not persuaded very many people to switch. Why? Because most consumers prefer to use the market leaders. Why? Because they provide a better experience for more people. If you think that there are 20 electoral votes out there from people willing to give up Apple, Google, and Facebook to protect a creep who attacked the parents of dead children, you should be writing fiction for InfoWars.

    1. That’s exactly right and unless I missed it, you are the first to call it exactly what it is — tech weaponized Democrat strategy to win the election.

      Look how quickly all the other liberal tech giants fell in line and most have already been censoring the right and independent voices for years.

      Apple started with the liberal articles they push everyday as top Apple news. Talk about fair and balanced.

      This overt bias probably started with the serial sexual escapades and reported assaults combined with accomplished lying under Clinton. The media was highly negligent in their defense of predators and non-reporting. Contrast that with daily Russian collusion going on almost two years and nothing.

      In addition, the last administration weaponized the DOJ and IRS to deny Republicans and Tea Party groups basic constitutional rights and all the perpetrators got away with it while the liberal media again stood idly by not doing their jobs. Very obvious, they are going all guns blazing after the president to deflect and defend Hillary from her potential crimes.

      What has happened to the Democratic Party since JFK. Obvious they are so drunk on power, today they will do anything honest and dishonest to win. Despicable that Apple has joined them under the FAKE pretense of standards in stacked favor of Democrats …

  3. Apple, I am no Alex Jones fan, but you lost me. This is absolutely wrong and evil. Now we can see why you can’t leave civil liberties up to private entities. Apple FB, Twitter have become monopolies (regardless of “other” outlets) and it is clearly now time to regulate them as public utilities. These tech companies have lost all my sympathy. Regulate the hell out of them, stock prices be damned.

  4. Tough call.

    I gave Alex Jones a try a few times years ago, but his temper tantrums were the reason I stopped listening. The screaming was at a minimum unprofessional.

    So I would understand Apple’s distaste if I ran Apple. Who let Jones in the store?

    But this is a very bad precedent.

    This is Apple stepping up and telling the rest of the corporate world, “We will help you manufacture reality.”

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