Tim Cook sends Mark Zuckerberg, YouTube, and Spotify scrambling over Infowars’ Alex Jones

“The big tech firms’ decision to ban some of Alex Jones’ and Infowars’ content on the grounds of ‘hate speech’ sets a vague precedent that leaves them vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy down the line,” Dylan Byers reports for CNNTech. “The way the firms went about making their decisions also shows how far the new media companies have to go in outlining clear and consistent policies about speech on their platforms.”

“Amid mounting public pressure to address Jones’ hate speech, Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue met over the weekend and decided to pull five of Jones’ podcasts from their platform, sources familiar with the matter told me,” Byers reports. “Cook and Cue decided to let Jones’ Infowars app remain available in the app store because they felt it did not run afoul of their policy.”

“Hours after Apple announced its move, Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook made the decision to pull four of Jones’ pages from their platform,” Byers reports. “Zuckerberg only moved to remove these pages after learning about Apple’s decision, Facebook sources said. That is why the pages were removed at 3 a.m. Pacific Time. YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki and Spotify’s Daniel Ek similarly moved to ban some of Jones’ content only after learning about Apple’s decision. There was no coordination between Apple, Facebook and any of the other tech firms, sources familiar with the matter said. The decisions were made independently.”

MacDailyNews Take: Facebook, Google, Spotify, etc. are a bunch of spineless followers.

Read more in the full article here.

“There are reasons to be deeply concerned that the tech companies banned Alex Jones. In short, the problem isn’t exactly what they did, it’s why they did it… Rather than applying objective standards that resonate with American law and American traditions of respect for free speech and the marketplace of ideas, the companies applied subjective standards that are subject to considerable abuse,” David French, a First Amendment litigator and senior writer for National Review, writes for The New York Times under the headline “A Better Way to Ban Alex Jones.”

“These policies sound good on first reading, but they are extraordinarily vague,” French writes. “We live in times when the slightest deviation from the latest and ever-changing social justice style guide is deemed bigoted and, yes, ‘dehumanizing.'”

“The far better option would be to prohibit libel or slander on their platforms,” French writes. “Unlike ‘hate speech,’ libel and slander have legal meanings… It’s a high bar. But it’s a bar that respects the marketplace of ideas, avoids the politically charged battle over ever-shifting norms in language and culture and provides protection for aggrieved parties.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Hate speech” too often means, “I hate your speech, so I’m going to try to shut you up.”

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

Again, as we’ve written previously regarding this issue, 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.

Here are the direct links:

• https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/alex-jones/the-alex-jones-show-infowarscom
https://player.fm/series/the-alex-jones-show-infowarscom

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.

SEE ALSO:
Jack Dorsey explains why Twitter isn’t banning Alex Jones and Infowars – August 8, 2018
Infowars’ Alex Jones blasts Apple, Google, others; warns on internet censorship – August 7, 2018
Apple’s ‘Infowars’ move thrusts tech giant into the debate over censoring content on internet platforms – August 6, 2018
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

46 Comments

  1. I love that quote MDN, “Hate speech” too often means, “I hate your speech, so I’m going to try to shut you up.” especially after the recent STFU posts I’ve received here recently.

    It’s good to see you doing your best to avoid censorship, save for those ad hominem attacks you warn us about but never seem to implement with any consistency. I certainly don’t mind being called a warped libtard, self-righteous snowflake, a plague, a cancer, a liar, hypocrite, dishonest, cowardly, a POS, amongst a barrage of other derogatory and denigrating personal comments because the irony is that you banned me over a word that I was using and it wasn’t even a word directed at a person, rather a country. It still makes me laugh every time I get a personal insult, which is very common these days and it certainly demonstrates to everyone the value of the MDN brand and how seriously you take the rule that you made and you posted about ad hominem attacks.

    1. Facebook, Google and Twitter have BRIBED THE GOVERNMENT (through donations to politicians and government-management revolving door) to not get categorized as monopolies in their corresponding sectors of social media/communications.

      Otherwise, they would be treated as public utilities and hence obliged to follow the free speech protections guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Now they perform the role of Orwellian Ministry of Truth, a corporate oligarchy version. Now they have made Alex Jones “unperson”, which in Orwell’s “1984” book meant that a person ceases to exist and the traces of his/her existence get erased from everywhere.

      I am not a fan of Jones at all, but this move by the corporations is totalitarian.

      1. Wow, that’s insightful, thanks. I am a bit confused about this idea about the companies being treated as public utilities if they were viewed as monopolies so if you want to add some insight and perspective to it, that would be much appreciated.

        I’m not against private companies coming up with their own speech guidelines for within their realm and enforcing them evenly and fairly across the board but I see that more as keeping a sense of civility for example.

        Corporate oligarchy? Yep that’s bound to happen in the current environment where everyone else is becoming an enemy, imagined or real.

        I don’t know Jones at all, but with a title of “Infowars” it has all the promise of war like flavor and sauce that Apple’s home nation have been addicted to since the country’s inception. It would not surprise me that some corporations would try to sensor such a series. That’s their freedom of choice, their free will. It’s not my approach, censorship has such an ugly side to it, and yet it clearly indicates bias.

        1. An example of a public utility is electricity/power company or water company or telephone company. None of them can disconnect Alex Jones from their services because they e.g. do not like things he talks about. And they can not even impose arbitrary and vague “rules” which things Jones can say through that telephone land line he has or not. Or whether Jones uses electricity to run computers through which he talks about his beloved conspiracies or even spews hate speech. Or whether Jones takes shower or drinks water to do all that.

          Thus even though these companies are private, by law they can not abuse their position to tamper with Jones’ free speech.

          BTW, there was an argument recently about re-categorising Internet providers as public utilities what would fundamentally solve the issue of so-called “net neutrality”. The Obama government did not go this far and has limited its measures to protect it, and this was easily overthrown under Trump (which was a mistake).

          1. Ah that’s giving me some perspective, thanks for taking the time to explain that for me. I guess from what you’ve said a relevant question would be how essential is a social media outlet for a business. The utilities you have mentioned, water, electricity, phones, certainly are but social media? I can imagine pretty good arguments from both sides of that debate but it looks like at the present time social media platforms are not essential like a utility is and that’s probably why social media platforms can dictate what is posted.

            Again thanks for that, it really helped.

          2. Public utilities are “public” because the Government has given them a monopoly. There is only room for so many pipes and wires in the public easements. In return for their monopoly, they are obliged to serve all members of the public. Railroads are also common carriers because they have been given the right to condemn right of way from unwilling private owners.

            Companies that have acquired a dominant market position by out-competing their rivals are a different thing entirely. That is just a natural result of free enterprise and we shouldn’t be asking the Government to interfere.

            1. As I mentioned in my first comment, the aforementioned social networks are actual monopolies. In terms of 1st Amendment, there is no difference between “natural” monopolies such as telephone landline or open market monopolies, which are subject to anti-trust laws.

            2. No, they aren’t monopolies. They all have competitors. As Darwin observed, competition means there are winners and losers. We shouldn’t hand over half of Facebook’s profits to MySpace just because they were in the game. The only way I know to level the playing field would be for Uncle Sugar to prop up MySpace or penalize Facebook for being successful. The anti-trust laws do not prohibit success, just unfair business practices to achieve it.

              There is no difference between natural and open market monopolies in terms of the First Amendment, but there is a difference between companies that have voluntarily chosen to become common carriers in exchange for government aid and companies that have chosen to forgo both government aid and government control.

              How does anyone suggest we “break up” these companies? It was comparatively easy to dissolve the Railway Trust, Standard Oil, and the Bell System by forcing them to spin off their regional operating subsidiaries. The media giants aren’t organized that way. You could, I suppose, set up two or three clone companies with identical resources and licenses to use the parent’s intellectual property. Within a few years at the outside, the same market forces that gave the old company market dominance would do the same for the most successful survivor.

              If a Republican Government can force Apple to promote positions that the company would prefer to oppose, a future Democratic administration could do the same to Fox, or to your own website. That’s the slippery slope, not a private company removing a few links to a site that has suggested shooting a public official.

    2. Stay on topic and spare us the self-loathing whining first post.

      “especially after the recent STFU posts I’ve received here recently.

      Crybaby complaint: Number One.

      “I certainly don’t mind being called a warped libtard, self-righteous snowflake, a plague, a cancer, a liar, hypocrite, dishonest, cowardly, a POS, amongst a barrage of other derogatory and denigrating personal comments”

      Crybaby complaint: Number Two.

      You LIE. Of course you mind or you would not mention it Mr. Offended self righteous.

      “because the irony is that you banned me over a word that I was using and it wasn’t even a word directed at a person, rather a country.”

      Not a person, right. An excuse and only in your defensive mind. You “directed” it at over 300 million persons with your hatred toward the USA.

      “It still makes me laugh every time I get a personal insult, which is very common these days and it certainly demonstrates to everyone the value of the MDN brand and how seriously you take the rule that you made and you posted about ad hominem attacks.”

      Crybaby complaint: Number Three.

      We laugh at your broken record HATRED for the USA that protects your country and you have no problem with fellow citizens not paying their fair share of NATO. Let’s hear you constantly complain about that fact and get them to pay up.

      Saved the best for last of the other broken record whining complaint. MDN not enforcing or selectively enforcing their “ad hominem” policy is patently FALSE.

      ad ho·mi·nem
      ˌad ˈhämənəm/
      adverb & adjective
      (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.”vicious ad hominem attacks”

      KEY: “directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining”

      I can assure you almost 100% of the pushback has nothing to do with the “person.” It has EVERYTHING TO DO with your “position” bad mouthing the USA at every turn and complaining about MDN policy. Obviously, it is crystal clear you are incapable of understanding and taking responsibility for your own special brand of FALSE ACCUSATIONS. Its OK, cry some more.

      Bottom line: Don’t complain about the snow on my rooftop when your doorstep is unclean.

      Have a nice day …

      USA!🇺🇸USA!🇺🇸USA!🇺🇸

  2. I am against Apple for doing this. I DO NOT LIKE infowars at all and I think Alex Jones is an idiot BUT this sets a horrible precedent of restricting free speech even if it is idiotic almost all of the time.

    I miss Steve Jobs so much. He was 100x better than cook.

  3. The Apple totalitarians and their supporters, who all love the hate speech of Che Guevarra and Mao and Stalin and Fidel, are disgusting and deserving of a massive rebuke by the public. This country which Apple built its fortune on is based on freedom of speech.. Now leftists want to disallow any speech from people who don’t hate America like they do. Disgusting and hateful. Tim is doing his best to destroy the company that Steve built.

        1. Sorry, when talking about a companies worth most people think in terms of money, or how much people like a companies products since those are often closely connected. But since we aren’t talking about how well run the company is I’m not sure what you mean by destroy, but no matter. Apple is not censoring Info Wars, they are just choosing not to distribute it. MDN was helpful enough to share a couple of their bookmarks with you so you can still catch the latest installments. The internet is big open place with room for everyone, even people who don’t believe that Sandy Hook didn’t happen and folks who support Che Guevara. The reality is that nothing has changed. But Info Wars isn’t about reality. Is it.

          1. I remember when all the leftists at Apple lied about how much they cared about “net neutrality” – everyone having equal access. What a pure crock of shit. Tim Cook and all the Marxist Apple fanboys like censorship. They dont give a shit about equal access. They are actually just like the infantile Antifa hood wearing thugs breaking things on the streets of our cities. Pure thugs.

            1. We are beginning to loose consensus on whether the earth is round or flat. And and there are pictures. So at some point it is OK to disengage. It can be fun for a bit and it can be a great mental clarifying activity but at some point you reach diminishing returns.

    1. Alex Jones was banned for threatening to shoot Robert Mueller. He may claim it was hyperbole, but his followers have a history of taking him literally. Even if Apple were subject to the First Amendment, an incitement to violence is not protected speech. Since Apple is NOT, it is clearly entitled to enforce its Terms of Service.

      I am deeply concerned at all the folks here who want to deny Apple, Facebook, Google, etc. their constitutional right to control their own message without Government interference.

      1. have a history of taking him literally,” that VIOLENCE is a plausible outcome…shooting of RM.

        Quite a statement and an undisciplined proposition. When exactly have “his followers” followed to the point of violence?

        1. The guy who broke into Comet Ping Pong, guns blazing, looking for the nonexistent dungeon full of exploited children that Jones had described.

          The death threats against Sandy Hook parents and Florida shooting survivors after Jones labeled them as crisis actors.

          So when Jones says that Mueller should be shot, it isn’t a stretch to suspect his followers will accommodate him.

          1. One Comet shooter is ALL you got? Everyone receives death threats (Maxine) including the president where the FBI and Secret Service RIGHT NOW are on a national manhunt for a guy from Pennsylvania. Threats are words so they don’t count like actions of the nut job that shot up Republicans practicing on a baseball field. And how about all the death threats from Black Lives Matter, Antifa, etc. guess they don’t factor in your liberal biased equation. You are the King of Deception and could not care about a fair playing field …

      2. As I wrote in a note to Tim Cook the other day…

        “…I believe Apple has the right to determine what they will and will not publish. That is not the issue. I side with you there. My problem is that it feels like these decisions are arbitrary and reflect a specific ideological view.

        Consider those who followed your example. You have effectively defined the all to fuzzy phrase “Hate Speech” to include anything published by Alex Jones.

        Personally, I don’t know how much more slippery this slope can get. This is, by the way, why I don’t really like having Apple people curating news for me…”

        I also explained I did not like being put in the position of having to defend Alex Jones nor did I like having to defend The Confederate Battle Flag. I pointed out how Apple publishes music that regularly calls for violence, specifically violence toward women and gays, and that I guarantee that more black people feel this “music” is vastly more harmful than the Confederate flag.

        Music that glorifies gun violence coming from a company that felt it necessary to change a gun emoji to be a water pistol?

        All of this makes Apple look hypocritical and at best disingenuous.

  4. Well, whatever you say about Microsoft, at least they haven’t gotten into the business of censoring speech on their platforms.

    Apple made a huge mistake here and it will cost the company. Like a small amount of yeast takes time to permeate the whole lump of dough, so this decision will take time to have an affect, but have an affect it will.

    I was waiting with great anticipation for September and the new iPhones, Apple Watches, FaceID iPads. Was going to buy at least 2 phones and watches. Now, none — at least until I see how this all shakes out. I am sure I am in the small minority right now, but once a person and a household begin to move away from the Apple eco-system…

    Apple is especially vulnerable because of its closed eco-system. People have to trust them that they are getting all the information they request. Is this search result giving me ALL the relevant information? Once that is called into question, and now it is, Apple will lose — not immediately but over time. It is a big like the virtue of Caesar’s wife — once people begin to question it, its all over.

    This is not about Alex Jones — whom I don’t listen to or watch. It’s about freedom and censorship and the threat of the rise of a totalitarian movement enforced by digital censorship.

    The fact that this is happening in a clearly coordinated manner (“collusion” anyone?) among the big socials is troubling. The fact that this is happening right before a critical mid-term election is DEEPLY troubling. I thought Apple was better than this. So sad to be disappointed.

    1. Typical. Liberals believe that only they are capable of making decisions for the rest of us. I am not capable of listening to Alex Jones and judging him to be a kook. I need TowerTone and Tim Cook to protect my unsophisticated mind from this garbage. The first ban we need is on banning. People like TowerTone and Tim think they know what racism is, so the ban the racists without realizing they are the biggest racists. Yet we’re going to let them determine what speech is free? I think not.

      1. “The following message published on our platform explains why you should assassinate a public official. We do not necessarily agree.”

        In your Apple fanboy defensive posts several things are glaring and stand out.

        You have no problem with kill cops rapper lyrics, correct?

        Antifa and Black Lives Matter HATE, correct?

        No problem with Apple making a profit on leftist HATE, movies, music and podcasts, correct?

        You ONLY have a problem with hate from the right, correct?

        Actually, a disclaimer is exactly the way to go. It is done on A.M. talk radio everyday in the USA when Rush is broadcast in a liberal market. The company admitting they do not support the views may provide legal protection.

        But more importantly, they come off as champions of free speech, open minded and do not CENSOR some views over other views and drop the hypocrisy.

        Correct fake conservative? …

  5. Honestly, I think the bigger issue here is that Apple and the others tried to shoehorn Jones’s behavior into something vaguely within their existing policy. I’d have much preferred they call him out with something like “We have chosen to ban content from Alex Jones not only because he says things that are blatantly false and beyond the pale, but also because there is a demonstrated history of violence associated with his outlandish conspiracy theorizing (insert Pizzagate citation). We value our position as an open forum for honest ideas based on reality and will be working to clarify our code of conduct in the coming months.”

  6. For the ‘weeds’ of the grass roots, perhaps Apple, Google, etc, should list opposing (common sense and sane?) views. Not that would be the perfect solution, but it might be better than banning. As much as I oppose every spoken syllable from Mr. Jones, I think the answer is more speech, not less. He’s now the Cuban cigar of political commentary. Is that a good thing???

  7. Alex Jones is clearly hate speech. If Info Wars isn’t then there isn’t any and you might as well allow yelling fire in a movie theater as well. For all the talk of “sticking to red lines” the right loves to call out – the right seems to have zero red lines when it comes to hate speech. Kinda like saying there are “fine people on both sides” even though one of those sides are KKK and their ilk. But I get it – Alex Jones is a Trump ally and you are a Trump propaganda site loosely disguised as a site for Apple news. You are opposed to any criticism of Trump, including criticism of his allies. Companies that are following Apple’s footsteps are doing the right thing. That’s not censorship. The government isn’t shutting down the Info Wars web site. His fans can still find Alex Jones online.. just not via Apple.

    1. This isn’t Europe we don’t have hate speech laws. Hate speech is just speech. The US is the only country in the world with true free speech and it needs to stay that way. You are proving MDN’s take right. People like you are why the left will keep on losing for the foreseeable future and companies that think I mean feel like you, are losing money or will start losing tons of money.

      1. Exactly – that’s why the government isn’t the one shutting down Alex Jones. COMPANIES, who are shutting his hate speech down, are exercising THEIR free speech. Nothing spineless about that. Alex Jones and his band of bigots are still free to spread their free speech. They have their own web site, their #1 fan POTUS 45, Breitbart, Twitter and they can always wander out of their hole to the nearest street corner. Nothing stopping that. Free speech fully protected. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

        People like you fought the end of slavery, giving women the right to vote, gay marriage and the end of Jim Crow. You slow down the evolution of the human race while you cheer on your short-term wins but as past history has proven again and again – you will not stop progress.

        1. “COMPANIES, who are shutting his hate speech down, are exercising THEIR free speech.”

          Censorship is NOT free speech, get a grip and LEARN the difference.

          “People like you fought the end of slavery, giving women the right to vote, gay marriage and the end of Jim Crow. You slow down the evolution of the human race while you cheer on your short-term wins but as past history has proven again and again – you will not stop progress.”

          WOW, just WOW! I have to say you take the all-time record for clueless PROJECTION onto another person with no basis in fact.

          ban6dit, if I were you I would not give this brainless Libtard the dignity of a response. Adam Bombed …

          1. Companies don’t have an obligation to publish hate speech, sorry. You may not like it and you’re obviously being a little b**ch about it but – It isn’t censorship. As long as Alex Jones and his ilk are free to self-publish their hate speech they aren’t being censored. Just because you’re black and bi (in reality, you’re probably white and super homophobic) that doesn’t necessarily get you off the hook. It just means you’re a classic house negro (both the African and Bisexual kind), shilling for whitey.

            1. “Companies don’t have an obligation to publish hate speech, sorry.”

              Sorry? I have posted here a dozen times Apple is free to publish or CENSOR anything they wish legally. You are not telling me anything I don’t already know.

              But it is still CENSORSHIP. You may not like it, sorry.

              Oh, are you calling me a derogatory name that starts with a B? Grow up.

              “As long as Alex Jones and his ilk are free to self-publish their hate speech they aren’t being censored.”

              Partially true. You neglected to mention they are being CENSORED by Apple, Fakebook, You Tube, Spotify and OTHERS. The Leftist HATE speech is NOT BEING CENSORED on the same platforms. You call that FAIR?

              “Just because you’re black and bi (in reality, you’re probably white and super homophobic) that doesn’t necessarily get you off the hook. It just means you’re a classic house negro (both the African and Bisexual kind), shilling for whitey.”

              Wow! How RACIST OF YOU!!! I hope MDN censors your racist VILE SPEECH. You asked for it …

          2. Looks like you are for “censorship” after all. Hilarious. Anyway, I guess by your logic Breitbart is censoring Rachel Maddow. No, it’s worse – they slander people like her on the daily. How unfair. Alex Jones is a piece of dung and karma is a b**ch.

          1. It is amazing how other people ASSUME (make an ASS out of U and ME) then proceed to talk for people they don’t know.

            Just yesterday a new poster gave hell to a guy that he has a problem with blacks. He did not know the person he was responding to was black. Unreal.

            I try to go with the facts as you do …

Leave a Reply to TxUser Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.