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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When we worry about free speech, we mostly worry about governments suppressing speech, not private actors. It's one thing to say that the US government shouldn't have the ability to arbitrarily censor some speech, but it's another altogether to say, that, for example, Boing Boing shouldn't be able to kick jerks off its message boards -- that has as much to do with "compelled publication" as it does with "free speech."
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Apple has joined Facebook, Spotify and YouTube in tossing Alex Jones and InfoWars material from their platforms.
Apple has removed the entire library for five of Infowars' six podcasts from its iTunes and Podcast apps, BuzzFeed News has learned. Among the podcasts, which were removed from Apples' iTunes directory, are the show "War Room" as well as the popular Alex Jones Show podcast, which is hosted daily by the prominent conspiracy theorist.
Facebook has banned four pages run by the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for “repeated violations of community standards”, the company said on Monday. The removal of the pages – the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the Infowars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page – comes after Facebook imposed a 30-day ban on Jones personally “for his role in posting violating content to these pages”.
Until recent days, tech platforms found it hard to understand why they shouldn't support Jones, a conspiracy theorist who claimed that the Sandy Hook parents were paid actors, that 9/11 was perpretrated not by Al Queda but by "globalists", and that the government is poisoning children to make them gay.
The public is growing keenly aware that Silicon Valley's supposed free-speech principles are not only self-serving but plainly up for sale, so there's little point supporting someone whose makes them look this bad. Read the rest
Unhinged conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been leading a psychotic crusade against the Sandy Hook victims' families since before the crime scene tape was even removed from the building. For five years, Jones and his followers (insert drinking the Flavor-Aid reference here) have accused the government of conducting a false flag operation in Newton in order to overturn the Second Amendment. This, of course, is utter bullshit. But that hasn't stopped them from cyberstalking the families, accusing them of lying about their dead children, and in some cases, sending death threats. The harassment has been severe enough to cause some of the families to relocate.
In Texas this week, a defamation claim by the family of Noah Pozner will be heard in court. The Pozners, whose 6-year-old son Noah was one of the victims, have been forced to move seven times due to the harassment of Jones and his Infowars infantry. The case is one of several related to Sandy Hook that has been filed against Jones. But it is the Pozner case that seems to have gotten under Jones' skin. He is suing the Pozners for $100,000 to cover his legal costs.
"Mr. Jones is trying to have the Pozner and Fontaine cases dismissed under the Texas Citizens Participation Act, which protects citizens’ right to free speech against plaintiffs who aim to silence them through costly litigation. Mr. Jones is seeking more than $100,000 in court costs from the Pozner family."
We need a new word to describe Alex Jones. Read the rest
The bottom is falling out on the right, which is to say that there is no bottom there. The weapon—unsubstantiated accusations of pedophilia and fig-leaved fantasies of violence—is crude. But it works for their audience, and justifies whatever happens next.
Jones took on a particularly insidious tone during his Monday show, accusing Mueller of violent child sex acts before dramatizing a hypothetical "wild west" shootout with Mueller, a Republican appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead the Russia investigation in May 2017. ...
"It's going to happen, we're going to walk out in the square, politically, at high noon, and he's going to find out whether he makes a move, man make the move first, and then it's going to happen," Jones said as he pantomimed shooting at Mueller.
"It's not a joke. It's not a game. It's the real world. Politically. You're going to get it, or I'm going to die trying, bitch. Get ready. We're going to bang heads," Jones continued, pretending to fire a gun at Mueller.
Zuckerberg's vacuous blather about the good faith of holocaust deniers, waffling from Facebook's executives about InfoWars itself, and the growing impression of ideological fellow travelers atop Twitter (or at least a paralyzing fear of the right there) has made conservative provocateurs think that the bar for survival on social media is lower than they thought. So they're stepping over it and going to town. Read the rest
Alex Jones accused the grieving parents of the dead children of Sandy Hook of being "crisis actors" and kicked off a campaign of brutal harassment by his idiotic followers -- 900,000 of them on Facebook alone.
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Self-described roaring performance artist has a simple business model: he spouts outrageous lies to bring in an audience, then sells them quack remedies whose market has been proven by Gwyeneth Paltrow.
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SuperDeluxe transformed some Alex Jones crazypants rants into a Bon Iver-esque song. It is hilarious. Read the rest