In a New York Times story titled "I Worked for Alex Jones. I Regret It," Josh Owens recounts his time working as a video producer for InfoWars. He says was a passenger in Jones' car and that Jones drank vodka from a cup while driving, that Jones would challenge people to punching contests and broke a video editor's ribs, and that Jones once fired an AR-15 in his direction, missing him by 10 feet (Jones "claimed he had intentionally fired the gun as a joke," write Owens.) He also describes the time Jones tried to kill an American Bison with a pistol:
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One weekend, a few people from the office went hunting at a game reserve. On the following Monday, I was handed a hard drive full of video files and told to edit them for Jones to air on his show later in the week. “There are clips in here that are pretty bad, things we don’t want to get out, so let me take a look at this before we upload it,” one of my managers said.
The first video I clicked on came from a cellphone. The camera pans across a blood-covered floor in what looked like a garage. Dead animals were scattered about: eyes lifeless, tongues hanging from their mouths, crimson streaks splashed on their fur.
In another video, a bison grazed quietly in the shade of a large tree; it reminded me of a tableau at the American Museum of Natural History. Then the camera panned over to Jones, maybe 20 yards away, holding what looked like a handgun.
Infowars' “War Room” created a brand-new hate channel on YouTube exactly one day after chief executive Susan Wojcicki's letter to content creators about reducing extremist content. YouTube deleted Alex Jones's all-new garbage channel shortly after receiving reports of its relaunch from VICE. Read the rest
Gosh, it only took 'em 4 whole years
As the lawsuit against Alex Jones for his role in directing and encouraging the vicious harassment of the parents of children murdered at the Sandy Hook shooting has led to a lawsuit, and that has led to discovery and depositions that reveal much about how Jones deliberately and cynically created the campaign of terror against the grieving parents -- and the role that organizations like the NRA play in the creation of cruel and destructive conspiracy theories about mass shootings.
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NRA training instructor and program coordinator Mark Richardson is a veteran of the organization, having worked there since at least 2006; in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting, Richardson used his NRA email account to correspond with Infowars correspondent Wolfgang Halbig, a Sandy Hook denier who has pursued a career of harassing the grieving parents of the children murdered there and accusing them of being "crisis actors" in a "false flag operation" whose children were either imaginary or unharmed.
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Just days after the suicides of two Parkland school shooting survivors, the father of a six-year-old girl who was killed during the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut has apparently taken his own life. Read the rest
Following up on our earlier story about Roku re-platforming Alex Jones and Infowars, it looks like Roku got so much criticism from users, they've reversed course and will remove the Infowars app.
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Zeynep Tufekci (previously) says that Big Tech's "engagement maximization" algorithms meant that any time you talked about Alex Jones critically, the algorithms would start relentlessly recommending that you watch some Alex Jones videos, because they were so well designed to please the algorithms by sucking up our attention.
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Alex Jones, starved of attention since he was no-platformed by Big Tech, has launched a desperate bid for notoriety, releasing an unhinged (even by Jones's standards) statement blaming the credit-card skimming malware his online store was serving on "a zero-day hack probably carried out by leftist stay behind networks hiding inside US intelligence agencies" (he also blamed it on "big tech, the communist Chinese, and the Democratic party" "globalist forces, "the corporate press, Antifa and rogue intelligence operatives").
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If I'd known that this month was going to be so fully of celebratory toasts to Alex Jones' bigoted InfoWars media empire being torn apart, piece-by-piece, I'd have bought one of those magnum-sized bottles of Jameson from Costco.
From The Verge:
PayPal will no longer do business with Infowars, according to a post on the conspiracy theory site this morning. PayPal broke the news in an email to Infowars yesterday, saying the company had conducted a comprehensive review of the Infowars site and found that it “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions,” a violation of PayPal’s acceptable use policy. Infowars had used PayPal to process transactions for its on-site store; the site will have ten days to find new payment processors.
PayPal’s partnership with the site was highlighted in August by Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt, who described “highly publicized and egregious violations of the platform’s own terms of service.” Reached by The Verge, Holt said today’s move had been a long time coming. “Removing PayPal from the Infowars platform inhibits Jones’ ability to make money from his malice,” Holt said, “but it’s a bit odd it took so long given how egregiously Infowars violated the platform’s terms of service.”
So yeah--kicked to the curb like so much crazed, racist conspiracy-peddling trash.
For those of you keeping score at home, that's PayPal, YouTube, Twitter and Apple's iOS App Store that have all told InfoWars to jog on. Given the number of lives Jones' hateful bullshit touches on a regular basis, I'm very happy to see every possible avenue he has to profit from the bile and fear he spreads to make a living go up in flames. Read the rest
All but exiled from social media over his violent threats and harassment of journalists, Alex Jones's Infowars iOS app became his last prominent platform1 after Twitter finally gave him the boot. Apple promptly banned it hours later, citing a rule against "content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste."
The App Store has been a valuable platform for Infowars. The site relaunched its app on July 9, and, according to the analytics company Apptopia, it was downloaded about 93,000 times in its first month. Though it cautioned that the app is still too new to the App Store for it to provide definitive daily average user analytics, Apptopia told BuzzFeed News that Infowars has logged more than 600,000 hours spent in-app as of August. After Jones' ban from Facebook, YouTube, and Apple's podcast platform, the app surged to the third spot in Apple's App Store.
1. It's still on the Google Play store. No-one seems to care? Is it just a toxic waste site these days? Read the rest
Twitter made its decision one day after Jones accosted CNN reporter Oliver Darcy on Capitol Hill, and livestreamed the encounter through Periscope, which Twitter owns. Read the rest
Race-baiting internet blowhard and alternative medicine profiteer Alex Jones said getting banned by Facebook or YouTube would only increase the numbers of rabid fans willing to click on his rants and buy his bullshit. Read the rest
When Twitter was the only major social network not to boot the hateful, violence-advocating conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the company struggled to explain that decision in terms of its already flexible policies. The Wall Street Journal reports that in fact Alex Jones was to be permanently banned, but CEO Jack Dorsey personally intervened and overruled the decision.
Last month, after Twitter's controversial decision to allow conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to remain on its platform, Mr. Dorsey told one person that he had overruled a decision by his staff to kick Mr. Jones off, according to a person familiar with the discussion. Twitter disputes that account and says Mr. Dorsey wasn't involved in those discussions.
White supremacist Richard Spencer too.
The only reason they remain on Twitter is because Jack made them untouchable. This is the personal connection between these men that proponents of another conspiracy theory—that Dorsey is a friend or fellow traveler to the alt-right and its media personalities—were waiting for.
Photo: Brian Solis (CC) Read the rest
Alex Jones is temporarily suspended from Twitter, but is openly boasting about simply switching to his other account to personally evade the weeklong ban—having called upon his supporters to arm themselves with "battle rifles."
The BBC understands that Twitter judged this to be a violation of its rules against abusive behaviour.
The restriction appears to only be effective against the @RealAlexJones account, which has 890,000 followers.
Mr Jones has since posted a video in which he discusses the move to a separate @Infowars feed - with about 431,000 followers - which he described as being a "sub-account".
The special consideration being given to this guy hints at an iceberg's underwater volume. Twitter's had to admit he broke the rules they said he hadn't broken, had to admit that it wouldn't ban him despite saying it would if he broke the rules, and had to endure the public spectacle of its own CEO sanctimoniously lecturing the public about free speech and getting pantsed for it by Kara Swisher in the New York Times. And now it's issuing a temporary suspension, cut just for Alex Jones.
Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.
Silly boy, shoulda jumped higher,
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! Read the rest
Look, I'm as delighted as you are to see Alex Jones' ability to spread hatred curtailed -- because in a world where all the important speech takes place online, and where online speech is owned by four or five companies, being kicked off of Big Tech's services is likely to be an extinction-level event.
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For years, the big social media platforms have used their market dominance to decide who could speak and on what terms: they forced drag queens and trans people to use their "real" names; kicked Black Lives Matter activists off their platforms; and allowed autocratic rulers to force opposition activists to expose themselves to arrest and torture as a condition of using their platforms.
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