It set social media ablaze Monday. YouTube decided to ban InfoWars' controversial radio host Alex Jones from its platform, citing hate speech. Jones has peddled conspiracy theories like suggesting the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged.
“When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts,” YouTube explained.
Many social media users applauded the decision, noting it was high time Jones's conspiratorial rhetoric be stripped of its reach.
Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify have removed content by Infowars' Alex Jones from their platforms.— ?? Cathleen Burke ?? (@ItsMeCathi) August 6, 2018
A HIP HIP HOORAY for these 4 companies!
A WOMP WOMP for Alex Jones and his conspiracy theories!
Apple removing Alex Jones & Infowars isn’t some terrible form of censorship against conservatives.— emilia (@PoliticalEmilia) August 6, 2018
He’s said Sandy Hook wasn’t real.
He’s suing parents from the school.
He said the Holocaust wasn’t real.
He’s not just a conservative.
He’s a conspiracy theorist who hurts people.
Others, though, think YouTube is setting a "dangerous precedent."
I'm not a fan of Alex Jones, but the choice to ban InfoWars sets a dangerous precedent. It's easy to use InfoWars as the example now, but what happens when this treatment is used on other outlets and journalists, and why are we trusting Facebook/YouTube to make these decisions?— Rachel Blevins (@RachBlevins) August 6, 2018
The politically naïve are celebrating that powerful private telecommunication companies that have privatized & monetize speech decided people are too stupid to think for themselves & banned Alex Jones & Info wars. They don't care about Jones. But they do care about the left.— Ajamu Baraka (@ajamubaraka) August 6, 2018
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell agrees that censorship is not the answer.
“I don’t support Alex Jones and what InfoWars produces," Bozell said in a statement. "He’s not a conservative. However, banning him and his outlet is wrong. It’s not just a slippery slope, it’s a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets.”
While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has not specifically commented on the YouTube decision, we can all guess how he feels judging by how he defended Jones's right to exercise his First Amendment freedoms after Facebook's ban.
"Am no fan of Jones — among other things he has a habit of repeatedly slandering my Dad by falsely and absurdly accusing him of killing JFK — but who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech?" Cruz wrote. "Free speech includes views you disagree with."
Spotify and Apple joined Facebook and YouTube in their decision to ban Jones's content. Twitter, however, does not seem to have any plans to follow suit.
Twitter remains one of the last major platforms to take action against Jones. A spokesperson for Twitter said Infowars is not in violation of company rules, noting that replies to Jones are often filled with people rebutting what he is saying in real-time https://t.co/UL7oiacRta— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 6, 2018