The right-wing provocateur Alex Jones has one fewer digital platform to peddle his crazy conspiracy theories after Apple decided to remove Infowars from its App Store late Friday. The company took down a total of five apps that were affiliated with Infowars. Apple confirmed the removal, and cited its guidelines to explain the move, saying Infowars won’t be allowed to return to the App Store.
The first clause of the App Store review guidelines forbids “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.”
Apple’s spokeswoman declined to say what content specifically led to the removal from the App Store. But the move was hardly surprising considering the company had already deleted Jones’ podcast from its store last month but kept Infowars-affiliated apps. Later, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube, all removed Infowars content.
Although Apple didn’t explain why the app was allowed to remain when the podcasts were removed, BuzzFeed News, which was first to report on the ban, notes that the app “does not store content, which presumably made violations of Apple’s guidelines more difficult to police.”
Anyone who has already downloaded the Infowars app will still be able to use it, but the ban means more users won’t be able to download it. The app seems to have been rather popular. In the news category, Infowars was ranked third in the top free apps section, behind Twitter and News Break, before the ban on Thursday, according to the Washington Post. The paper said the ranking revealed “a sudden boost of user downloads.” The app is still available on Google Play, where the app was ranked third among trending apps on Thursday, according to the Post.
The App Store ban came a day after Twitter also banned Jones and Infowars due to abusive behavior. The last straw for Twitter appears to have been a video of Alex Jones insulting a CNN reporter.