As Alex Jones routinely says, "there is a war on, for your mind" only this time, there is a war on Alex Jones and by all accounts, he is taking heavy causalities. Known for running right-wing leaning conspiracy website infowars.com, Jones has been no stranger to controversy over the years.
Incase you haven't been keeping up with developments, Alex Jones a few weeks ago received a 90 day ban on YouTube for posting content that violated YouTube's terms of service and understandably, they were right in their decision. In defiance of the ban, Alex Jones continued to livestream on other Infowars channels.
Today YouTube has announced it has removed the Infowars channel from its platform, releasing the following announcement:
All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube. When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.
On Twitter, Alex Jones referred to the move as an act of censorship. This move from YouTube comes at a time when other tech platforms are taking steps to remove Alex Jones as well, with Apple, Spotify and Facebook recently removing him as well.
It all comes down to two words: hate speech.
Admittedly, I am not an Alex Jones fan and I think he is crazy. His conspiracy theories and things that he says are only things that a mentally ill person or great actor could come up with. However, is this an attack from the "leftist agenda" to stifle free speech?
Is this free speech being silenced or hate speech being silenced?
Some people will look at this latest string of bans as an attempt to silence Alex Jones because he has non-leftist views, others will argue the mainstream media are trying to silence him for speaking the truth and quite a few just won't care at all.
I am 110 percent behind the concept of free speech, I think you should be allowed to have an opinion and viewpoint on any topic. But I agree that if you're peddling hate speech, maybe you've gone beyond the point of free speech.
But has Alex Jones crossed the line in some of the content he has posted, to the point where it would warrant a complete ban? The biggest mistake Jones has made in his sensationalist career is he has continually proclaimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was faked by the left to further their gun control agenda.
It got to the point where Jones' listeners started harassing the families calling them "hoaxers" and "crisis actors", keeping in mind these families had lost children in elementary school, their lives taken away from them.
I am all for Alex Jones trying to expose deep-seated government corruption and talk about things the MSM will not, but even some of the most hardcore conspiracy theorists can agree that proclaiming the Sandy Hook shooting was fake is going too far.
Tech platforms are not protected by the first ammendment
People keep saying that Alex Jones has had his first ammendment right taken away, but they're forgetting that Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify are all private companies. They're free to say who and who cannot use their platforms.
Whilst the government is happy to compel these tech platforms to hand over their data via secretive FISA court orders and exploits, the government does not own these platforms and they do not fall under the constitution.
At the end of the day when you choose to use Facebook or YouTube, you're not only handing over the keys to your data and trusting these companies to do the right thing, you're helping a monopoly further its reach and profits.
This is what you get, you give up basic rights you get in the real world just so you can share your selfies and pictures of your kale salads.
Alex Jones isn't being censored
While Alex Jones being banned from different platforms limits his outreach potential, he isn't being silenced by the government and technically he is free to continue to talk about whatever he wants, just not on these platforms.
We have to acknowledge that Alex Jones being banned from these platforms stemmed from public pressure and we aren't just talking about a handful of people complaining here.
You can still go to infowars.com if you choose to do so and consume Alex Jones content. He isn't being purged or banned from the internet, that is a gross exaggeration from emotional defenders.
This is free speech
Whether people like it or not, this is what free speech looks like. People are free to oppose Alex Jones opinions and views, just as Alex Jones is free to opposite other peoples opinions and views: it's a two-way street.
This is the ironic part of free speech advocates in these debates. They want the freedom to share their views, but decry any attempt to challenge or block their views. You can't have one without the other.
It's time to stop supporting monopolies
You're reading this on Steemit and that is a good start. The only hope we have at a future where free speech is truly supported is on content platforms like Steem where nothing can be deleted or censored.
At the end of the day Facebook, Google and Apple profit off of your data. They sell your information to advertisers and using it to further their own agendas chasing profit such as Google's research into artificial intelligence.
Stop using Facebook, stop using YouTube and any other platform owned by a monopoly. To those who quit these platforms a long time ago, we all saw this coming and tech platforms like Facebook have never been about free speech or your rights.