Earlier this week, Apple booted five of Infowars‘ six podcasts out of iTunes and its Podcasts app, but made the decision to keep the company’s app in the App Store.
In a statement, Apple has said that it continues to support “all points of view” being represented in the App Store, but notes that it will continue to review the situation.
“We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions, and follow our clear guidelines, ensuring the App Store is a safe marketplace for all,” Apple told BuzzFeed in a statement. “We continue to monitor apps for violations of our guidelines and if we find content that violates our guidelines and is harmful to users we will remove those apps from the store as we have done previously.”
Apple pulled Infowars‘ podcasts on the same day that content belonging to the alt-right conspiracy theorist was pulled by Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify.
Despite suggesting that the Infowars amount to “hate speech,” however, Apple did not ban the company’s app from the App Store. As a result, it received a boost in popularity which saw it rise through the App Store rankings, based on number of downloads.
Will he stay or will he go?
Apple’s App Store guidelines ban any app which includes, “content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste.” It also bars content which is considered, “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or place a targeted individual or group in harm’s way.”
However, Apple’s selection process is also often opaque, although it has usually come down on the side of caution rather than the other way around.
With people on both sides of the political spectrum animated by this issue, it will be interesting to see what Apple does next. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, many tech companies — including Apple — have been under pressure to crack down on what is considered to be “fake news.”