Google confirmed it has issued a strike against Infowars founder Alex Jones’ YouTube channel for breaking the video platform’s policies against child endangerment and hate speech. Four videos were also removed. The strike means Jones’ channel will not be allowed to live stream for 90 days.
In a statement emailed to reporters, a Google representative said “We have long standing policies against child endangerment and hate speech. We apply our policies consistently according to the content in the videos, regardless of the speaker or the channel. We also have a clear three strikes policy and we terminate channels when they receive three strikes in three months.”
According to The Verge, two of the deleted videos contained hate speech against Muslims, a third had transphobic content and the fourth showed a child being shoved to the ground by a grown man with the headline “how to prevent liberalism.”
The fact that four deleted videos only amounted to one strike against Jones’ channel has prompted scrutiny of YouTube’s moderation policy, with critics arguing that each video that breaks the platform’s rules should warrant its own strike, especially for prolific repeat offenders.
Jones’ channel was issued a strike in February for a video promoting the conspiracy theory that survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting, which killed 17 people, were actually “crisis actors.” But strikes expire after three months, so the Alex Jones channel currently has only one active strike against it.
While he promotes ideas that are ridiculous and hateful, Jones is influential and Infowars has helped promulgate many pernicious conspiracy theories. For example, he is currently being sued by family members of Sandy Hook victims for claiming that the mass shooting, which killed 27 people, including 20 small children, was staged. Since the shooting in December 2012, victims’ families have been targeted for harassment by conspiracy theorists.
The YouTube strike come a few days after Facebook refused to take down a video of Jones ranting against Robert Mueller, in which he accused the special counsel of committing sex crimes against children and mimed shooting him. Facebook told BuzzFeed News that Jones’ comments in the video, which was posted to his verified page, did not violate community standards because they are not a credible statement of intent to commit violence.
TechCrunch has also contacted Infowars for comment.
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