Apple has removed the entire back catalog for five of far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars’ six podcasts on iTunes and its Podcasts app. One of these shows is the daily “War Room” show hosted by owner and radio host Alex Jones.
The podcasts were removed due to their breaking of Apple’s hate speech guidelines. It comes as part of a concerted effort by Silicon Valley to cut down on the spread of so-called “fake news” online.
“Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
Apple’s decision to remove all episodes of the show, as opposed to just individual problematic episodes, is being heralded as a big step forward. BuzzFeed writes that it is, “one of the largest enforcement actions intended to curb conspiratorial news content by a technology company to date.”
Apple was pressured by members of the media and activists to remove InfoWars from its platform. Spotify has also started removing InfoWars material from its platform.
At present, only the InfoWars podcast, “Real News With David Knight,” is still available via Apple’s Podcast app or iTunes. The company hasn’t revealed exactly why this single podcast was let off the hook.
Jones says his shows, which are broadcast on radio, YouTube and other platforms reach upwards of 70 million people per week.