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.


Facebook asked to protect users in simmering Sri Lanka

Updated 17 November 2018
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Facebook asked to protect users in simmering Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka has been in crisis since last month with two men claiming to be prime minister
  • The United National Party wrote to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg asking the US firm not to cooperate with Rajapaksa’s administration

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s largest political party Saturday asked Facebook to protect the identity of its supporters, fearing a crackdown by what it called the “illegal” government.
The Indian Ocean nation has been in crisis since last month with two men claiming to be prime minister, MPs brawling in parliament and the administration paralyzed.
It began on October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa.
In chaotic scenes in parliament this week, Rajapaksa lost two votes of no confidence but he is refusing to go and Sirisena has yet to acknowledge the motions.
On Saturday Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) wrote to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg asking the US firm not to cooperate with Rajapaksa’s administration.
“We urge Facebook to refrain from disclosing information about... users of the platform to any officials of the illegal government unless it is properly sanctioned by a court of law,” the UNP said.
The UNP had also complained that its official page was blocked by Facebook on Thursday ahead of a mass rally it organized to express solidarity with Wickremesinghe, who insists he is still prime minister.
Sirisena ordered a ban on Facebook across Sri Lanka in March after blaming it for spreading hate speech and fueling intercommunal violence that led to the deaths of three people and destruction of property.
Since then, Facebook had said it was deploying more staff to identify and remove inflammatory material from Sri Lankan users.
This week Sri Lankans had to rely on social media to watch their lawmakers fighting and throwing chilli powder after the main telecommunications company stopped its live broadcast.