By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Apple Inc said on Friday that it had banned from its App Store the Infowars app belonging to popular U.S. 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.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)