Everybody’s favorite conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter is back in the headlines, making Facebook and YouTube look bad in the process. That’s right, Alex Jones has once again made some wild claims to stir up outrage, and all eyes are on the platforms that seem to be allowing it at the moment. While Jones has his own site and video system to spread his claims, which he’s allowed to do, the question left out in the open is why platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter allow it to go out on their channels.
The drive this time around comes from Jones claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would “rape kids in front of people,” “fly them on sex planes,” and then finished it up with an apparent threat to shoot the guy according to HuffPost:
“That’s the thing, is like, once it’s Mueller, everyone’s so scared of Mueller, they’d let Mueller rape kids in front of people, which he did. I mean, Mueller covered up for a decade for Epstein kidnapping kids, flying them on sex planes, some kids as young as 7 years old reportedly, with big perverts raping them to frame people. I mean, Mueller is a monster, man,” said Jones.
“God, imagine ― he’s even above the pedophiles, though. The word is he doesn’t have sex with kids, he just controls it all. Can you imagine being a monster like that? God.”
“I look at that guy, and he’s a sack of crap. That’s a demon I will take down, or I’ll die trying. So that’s it. 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,” said Jones, miming shooting a gun.
It’s not out of the ordinary for Jones to make wild, and usually baseless claims, he’s well known for it at this point. The Sandy Hook claims, the Chobani controversy, and Seth Rich have been topics that have gotten Jones in trouble in the past, but they’ve never really gotten him kicked off YouTube or Facebook despite their policies. Questions asking why really started to sprout following the 2016 election and the rise of “fake news” and every flashpoint seems to spark the same discussion. The difference this time is that YouTube did take some action by applying one strike for a package of four videos, confirming the action in a statement according to The Verge:
We have longstanding policies against child endangerment and hate speech,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. “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.”
Three strikes within 90 days would warrant Jones and Infowars’ removal from the platform. The active strike also means the conspiracy theorist cannot have live broadcasts for 90 days. Jones did receive a strike before this for claiming David Hogg was a crisis actor, but it fell outside of 90 days to count alongside this current strike. Infowars called the strike “part of the wider assault to remove the Alex Jones channel” according to Deadline, while Jones himself said “YouTube has removed four Infowars videos that were critical of liberalism” while urging folks to watch them on Facebook to “make up their own minds.”
On that side of the internet, Facebook said “Jones’ comments did not violate the company’s community standards as they were not a credible statement of intent to commit violence” according to Buzzfeed. It stands with a statement made by Facebook last week according to HuffPost:
“The approach that we’ve taken to false news is not to say, you can’t say something wrong on the Internet,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said last week.
“Everyone gets things wrong, and if we were taking down people’s accounts when they got a few things wrong, then that would be a hard world for giving people a voice and saying that you care about that.”
Alex Jones is just a guy who has gotten a few things wrong, right?
At this point, we should just be surprised when Facebook or Twitter does something to counter conspiracy theories, blatant lies, fake news, Nazis, racists, trolls, and anybody else that seem to skirt the line of what is allowed and what isn’t before flipping it to their advantage.
I just miss the days when Alex Jones was the guy screaming in his car from Richard Linklater’s Waking LIfe.