Apple has removed five Infowars podcasts from the Apple Podcasts platform. Apple confirmed the decision to Buzzfeed News overnight, and is the first major tech company to blanket ban almost all of Alex Jones’ content. Apple said that it does not tolerate hate speech, and clear guidelines dictate the types of content that are accessible on its platforms. Companies like YouTube and Spotify have pulled select episodes before.
Apple is the leading podcast distribution platform and its more drastic approach naturally put pressure on other players to follow suit. Only one InfoWars show remains on Apple’s service, ‘Real News with David Night’. Apple did not say why this show alone was allowed to stay up.
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These shows have been delisted from the Apple Podcasts directory, so they will not show up in search results or top charts within the Apple Podcasts app on iOS, or iTunes on the desktop.
Listeners of Alex Jones’ shows can find the podcasts at their canonical locations, and still will be able to add them into the Apple Podcasts client manually using the ‘Add a Podcast by URL…’ feature.
Here’s Apple’s full statement on the takedown, via Buzzfeed News:
Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” a company spokesperson said. “Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.
To add a podcast not listed in the Apple directory, on iPhone and iPad, open Podcasts. Go to the Library tab and press the Edit button in the top-right corner. Then, tap the Add a Podcast by URL button, and paste the feed URL into the dialog that appears.
Tech companies are increasingly finding themselves as arbiters of content policy and ethics. Apple is moving into this direction especially with Apple News, where it uses human editors to select and feature content. Most recently, Apple News is running a 2018 Midterm election feature in which it stressed its responsibility to provide ‘quality news from trustworthy sources’.