Apple claims commitment to free speech after Infowars ban

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Apple has clarified its stance on an issue that probably resulted in more negative PR than it ever anticipated: the banning from iTunes of Alex Jones’s Infowars podcasts.

After the initial ban over the weekend, the company said yesterday that the Infowars mobile app can remain in its App Store as long as it doesn’t violate guidelines.

In a statement, Apple claims that it supports all viewpoints being reflected on the App Store, as long as the opinions of users with opposing views are respected.

The statement added: “We continue to monitor apps for violations of our guidelines and if we find content that violates our guidelines and is harmful to users we will remove those apps from the store as we have done previously.”

Apple is apparently distinguishing between the podcast and the app, because in the app, videos are no longer available after being broadcast, while the podcast episodes could always be searched afterwards.

The company will from now on monitor the app for violations of its policies.

After Apple removed a couple of Infowars programmes from iTunes over the weekend, the Infowars iPhone app, which often hosts similar content, rocketed from below the top ten list in the App Store charts to the third most downloaded in the news section.

When it announced the removal of Infowars, Apple stated that it did not tolerate “hate speech” and that developers and creators had to follow clear guidelines to make sure that the company could offer a safe environment to all its users.

Whether one loves or hates Alex Jones, most people will probably agree that censorship is a bad idea. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Infowars issue quickly became a hotly debated social media topic.

Twitter also received a lot of criticism when it followed Apple’s example.


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