Alex Jones, the most famous current political conspiracy theorist, as well as conservative radio host, entertainer, and head of his media brand InfoWars, has been banned by a multitude of major platforms including Apple, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, and Pinterest. Both his professional accounts and InfoWars content have been scrubbed, all within a very short period of time, giving the appearance of clear coordination.
Jones has been famous for spreading conspiracy theories on wildly varied subjects, ranging from allegations as serious as the Sandy Hook school shooting being staged, to as benign as chemicals in the water turning frogs gay (which, interestingly, is essentially true). He also rages against the “elite” and accuses the world’s rich and powerful of being pedophiles and social engineers bent on destroying humanity.
Despite the outlandish lengths to which he often goes, he was not banned for alleged fake news or misinformation, but, as stated explicitly by each major site, for hate speech, including against “people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants” (Facebook’s statement).
The problems with this are numerous and should be deeply worrisome for both right-wingers and anyone on the center or left who believes in principle. The first issue is the determination that Jones’ content was hate speech to begin with; it does not appear that he was even provided with specific examples of how he violated policies. While certainly theatrical and understandably wildly outside the span of ordinary opinion, Jones was never racist or discriminatory.
The second issue is the term “hate speech” itself, which is exceedingly open to interpretation, and in practice a mechanism for enforcing the politically correct dogma of the moment and catering to the weakest, most outraged, and most totalitarian. Its definition can never be anything but a pure partisan construction, and currently is weaponized by the prevailing social justice left, who throw every “ism” and “phobia” in their ever-expanding book at anyone who expresses the slightest concern with their frenetic slide into global Marxism.
The most chilling and fundamental problem that this event reveals, however, goes deeper than partisanship. The corporate social media and tech giants such as Facebook, Youtube, and Google are so ubiquitous and intertwined with the economic, political, and social facets of life worldwide, that in reality to be excluded from them is fundamentally crippling to participation in society itself and ability to maintain a livelihood. These firms partner with governments and have monopolized the sectors they influence to so exponential a degree as to be beyond the reach of any competition, let alone one wronged individual or even, in this case, several million. Their behavior is a glaring problem not only for legally enshrined rights such as freedom of speech, but the universal principle itself. Rather than being submitted to governments which serve people who elect them, these global corporations push around governments and their people. They are the gatekeepers of public space and should be regulated as such.
The corporate establishment has a clear and powerful vested interest in lashing out as a class against independent and alternative sources of information, as the old news media in particular sees its influence wane, due in no small part to having nakedly submitted itself to the service of the interests of the global corporate order. These are two sides of the same coin, and they go to bat for each other, against ordinary people the world over.
Jones currently remains on Twitter, and his content is still accessible through apps and on the InfoWars website, which sees millions of visitors per month. While some speculate that this latest round of censorship will backfire by energizing his viewers and spreading awareness, this is a slippery slope of wishful thinking. What happened to Jones can happen to anyone, and probably will. It is only a matter of time. We should all be Alex Jones now.