Saturday, August 18News That Matters

Apple and Google haven't banned Infowars apps, and their downloads are booming


Infowars Official, the app named after Alex Jones’ controversial radio talk show, has become the fourth most popular news app in the United States that’s currently available in the iOS App Store, according to public rankings. It was the 47th most popular just two days ago.

The free app, which launched in June, streams live shows and written pieces from Jones and other conservative pundits. It also links to the Infowars store where visitors can buy T-shirts and skincare products. An Android version of the app is available in the Google Play Store; there, it jumped from being the 31st most popular news app to the 11th.

The spike in popularity comes after a number of major platforms dropped Infowars this week on the grounds that the show’s conspiracy theories violate community guidelines. Yesterday, Apple pulled five of Jones’ six Infowars-branded podcasts from its Podcasts app. Since then, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and others have all taken steps to remove Jones’ content from their platforms. Previously, the Alex Jones Channel had more than 2.5 million subscribers.

Following these removals, the Infowars app was flooded with five-star reviews championing the idea of free speech, with titles like “Infowars WILL NOT be silenced.”

“When I have to seek out and search for the information and views I want to hear rather than them be available to me from any and all platforms, I know who’s side is corrupt and treasonous,” said one review. “I was 50/50 on the fence about Alax Jones, but now that they have taken away my rights I’m 100% sure infowars has been truth all along.”

Apple initially banned most of Jones’ content from its Podcast platform for violating rules related to hate speech, according to a statement given to BuzzFeed News. Apple’s guidelines for its App Store, meanwhile, have no such written rules concerning hate speech or conspiratorial content, though they do restrict apps with “content that encourages violence.” Previously, Apple rejected an app for Gab, the social network favored by many alt-right groups, on the grounds that it contained pornographic content.

According to Apple’s guidelines page:

We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it.” And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.

The Google Play Store has clear rules regarding hate speech:

We don’t allow apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

Neither Apple nor Google responded to a request for comment.

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