Apple removes most of US conspiracy theorist’s podcasts from iTunes

An Apple spokesperson was not available for comment early on Monday. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 August 2018
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Apple removes most of US conspiracy theorist’s podcasts from iTunes

  • The move by Apple is the most sweeping of a recent crackdown on Jones’s programs by Facebook and other online sites
  • Apple told Buzzfeed that it has removed the entire library for five of Jones’s six Infowars podcasts

LOS ANGELES: Most of US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s podcasts from his right-wing media platform Infowars have been removed from Apple’s iTunes and podcast apps, the media news website BuzzFeed quoted a company spokesman as saying on Sunday.
The move by Apple is the most sweeping of a recent crackdown on Jones’s programs by Facebook and other online sites that have suspended or removed some of his conspiracy-driven content.
Apple told Buzzfeed that it has removed the entire library for five of Jones’s six Infowars podcasts including the shows “War Room” and the daily “The Alex Jones Show.”
Only one program provided by Infowars, “RealNews with David Knight” remained on Apple’s platforms on Sunday, according to media accounts.
An Apple spokesperson was not available for comment early on Monday.
In other recent actions against Jones, Facebook suspended the radio and Internet host’s personal profile for 30 days in late July from Facebook’s site for what the company said was bullying and hate speech.
Also, Spotify, a music and podcast streaming company, removed some specific episodes of Jones’s programs last week.
“We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” a spokesperson said late on Sunday.
“Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy,” the spokesperson said.
Since founding Infowars in 1999, Jones has built a vast audience. Among the theories he has promoted is that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington were staged by the government.
He has also promoted a theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was faked by left-wing forces to promote gun control. The shooting left 26 children and adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
Jones is currently being sued in Texas by two Sandy Hook parents, seeking at least $1 million, claiming that they have been the subject of harassment driven by his programs.
Neither Jones nor a representative for Infowars were available early on Monday for comment.


WhatsApp says working with India’s Reliance Jio to curb fake news menace

The WhatsApp messaging application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 59 min 37 sec ago
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WhatsApp says working with India’s Reliance Jio to curb fake news menace

  • More than 30 people have died this year in mob violence triggered by vitriolic messages on social media and WhatsApp, according to unofficial estimates, and police have previously told Reuters that minorities have been targeted

MUMBAI: Facebook’s WhatsApp is working closely with Reliance Jio to spread awareness of false messages, weeks after the Indian telecoms operator opened up the messaging service to tens of millions of customers using its cheap Internet-enabled phone.
Jio this month gave its more than 25 million JioPhone customers, many of them first-time Internet users, access to WhatsApp at a time when the messaging service is battling false and incendiary texts and videos circulating on its platform.
Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, launched the JioPhone last year at a refundable deposit of 1,500 rupees ($20.60). The device is Internet enabled but didn’t initially allow the use of WhatsApp or have several popular smartphone features.
All new users of the JioPhone get educational material that tells them about spotting a forwarded WhatsApp message and encourages them to share messages thoughtfully, WhatsApp spokesman Carl Woog told Reuters.
“We are working closely with Jio to continue our education campaign for WhatsApp users,” Woog said.
In India’s smaller towns and villages, deep-seated prejudices, often based on caste and religion, and cut-price mobile data can aggravate the so-called fake news problem. Such regions are a key market for cheap devices such as the JioPhone.
More than 30 people have died this year in mob violence triggered by vitriolic messages on social media and WhatsApp, according to unofficial estimates, and police have previously told Reuters that minorities have been targeted in some remote and rural regions.
That has prompted New Delhi to call on WhatsApp to take immediate action to “end this menace.”
WhatsApp has already taken some steps to quell the rise of fake news. It has launched print and radio ad campaigns to educate users and introduced new features on the app including limiting message forward as well as the labelling of forwarded messages.
It has also partnered with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), a New Delhi-based non-profit organization, to spread digital literacy in India’s towns and cities.
DEF will host a workshop in the eastern Indian city of Ranchi this week, WhatsApp’s Woog said.
WhatsApp also plans to expand its outreach program to existing JioPhone users.
Reliance Jio did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
With more than 200 million users, India is a key market for WhatsApp but one where it has had to delay the official launch of its payments services due to the country’s push on data localization.
WhatsApp is currently looking for an India chief and a policy head for the country.
It last month appointed a grievance officer for Indian users at its Menlo Park, California headquarters, like other global tech firms whose grievance officers sit outside of India.
India has, however, said it will toughen up its laws including pushing US tech giants to have their grievance officers in India.
($1 = 72.8000 Indian rupees)