Apple Inc. bans Alex Jones app for ‘objectionable content’

Apple said at the time that the Infowars app remained in its store because it had not been found to be in violation of any content policies. (File/Reuters)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Apple Inc. bans Alex Jones app for ‘objectionable content’

  • The move makes Apple the latest tech company or social media platform to take action against Jones
  • On Thursday, Twitter Inc. permanently banned Jones and his website from its platform and Periscope, saying in a tweet that the accounts had violated its behavior policies

LOS ANGELES: Apple Inc. said on Friday that it had banned from its App Store the Infowars app belonging to popular US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after finding that it had violated the company’s rules against “objectionable content.”
The move makes Apple the latest tech company or social media platform to take action against Jones, a deeply controversial right-wing radio talk-show host who has suggested that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, among other sensational claims.
Apple said the guidelines Jones violated bar “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or place a targeted individual or group in harm’s way.”
Representatives for Jones could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters on Friday evening.
On Thursday, Twitter Inc. permanently banned Jones and his website from its platform and Periscope, saying in a tweet that the accounts had violated its behavior policies.
In a video posted on the Infowars website on Thursday, Jones said in response: “I was taken down not because we lied but because we tell the truth and because we were popular.”
Last month, Twitter banned Jones and Infowars for seven days, citing tweets that it said violated the company’s rules against abusive behavior, which state that a user may not engage in targeted harassment of someone or incite other people to do so.
Apple said at the time that the Infowars app remained in its store because it had not been found to be in violation of any content policies, although it had removed access to some podcasts by Jones.
The podcasts differ from the Infowars app by allowing access to an extensive list of previous episodes, subjecting all of those past episodes to Apple’s content rules.
The Infowars app contains only rebroadcasts of the current day’s episodes, subjecting a much smaller set of content to the rules. Apple said it regularly monitors all apps for content violations.
Google parent Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc. and Spotify Technology SA have also removed content produced by Jones.


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Updated 19 February 2019
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Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

  • Dutt's account was blocked after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her
  • Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence”

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: One of India’s best-known women journalists, Barkha Dutt, launched a scathing attack on Twitter Inc. on Tuesday for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.
Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.
Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.
She posted her complaint against Twitter in a tweet on Tuesday, after her account was re-activated.
“I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter’s encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality,” said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.
Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.
“If we identify a Tweet that violates the Twitter Rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said in an email.
The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.
Its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has been called to appear before a parliamentary panel this month to discuss initiatives being taken to safeguard citizen’s rights on social media and online news platforms.
The hearing comes soon after the conservative Youth for Social Media Democracy group accused Twitter of left-wing bias and protested outside its office in New Delhi this month.
Dorsey did not appear at a hearing earlier this month.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday the parliamentary panel had written an email to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a Feb. 25 hearing.
Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.
Social media giants in India are being put under greater scrutiny ahead of a general election due before May, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party are seeking re-election.
Several social media companies are overhauling policies to curb misinformation ahead of the vote.