What Does It Mean to Ban Alex Jones?

On Monday, Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify “banned” the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his media company, Infowars, from their platforms.

Jones has seized on the moment, selling his show Monday as a “world exclusive” responding to “being banned on the internet,” hashtagged #MondayMotivation as well as #Censorship.

But if you went to Apple’s App Store, you could find his company’s app, which contains Jones’s podcasts and shows, and which has been “rocketing” up the App Store charts. Or, if you went to Facebook today and shared an Infowars link, it’d post. YouTube still hosts various Infowars associates such as Paul Joseph Watson, along with dozens of Jones’s appearances on other outlets.

And unlike in the case of the neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer, which was actually banned from the web by a variety of hosting and internet companies, anyone who wants to can go to Infowars.com and watch Jones sweat.

So if this is a ban, it’s an intentionally porous one. Facebook has explicitly argued for this sliding-scale strategy for responding to divisive users. “What we will do is we’ll say, okay, you have your page and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive,” Mark Zuckerberg said in the weeks before the Infowars ban. “But that doesn’t mean that we have a responsibility to make it widely distributed in News Feed.”
 

 Read more at The Atlantic

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