Tech companies are not altruistic

If Steve Jobs was an awful person, why should we expect that the Apple corporation is altruistic and good? The news is full of this shocking announcement that Apple has removed all of Alex Jones’ podcasts from the iTunes library.

In a statement Sunday evening to BuzzFeed News, Apple confirmed that it notified Jones of the decision to remove the five shows under its hate speech guidelines earlier this weekend. “Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” a company spokesperson said. “Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”

The cynic in me is wondering why. It’s a no-brainer to me that people shouldn’t promote hateful lunacy like Jones’ ranting, but Apple was just fine with it for years when Jones and his crew were spouting deranged shit non-stop. I don’t believe that a corporation has suddenly grown a conscience, so there must be something more to it.

Again, cynical me speaks up and suggests that the haters, while a profitable market to cater to, have gotten out of hand and are alienating the non-haters, another profitable market. Apple is cracking down on the most prominent crackpot on their network to put on a show of “Hey, we’re good guys at heart”, while allowing the numerous littler Nazis to thrive.

…unless you think those vague guidelines are going to be enforced all across the board. I think not. Making an example of one particularly loud asshole will send a useful message to the less successful assholes that they’d better be careful not to disrupt the business, which is Apple’s only goal.


  1. mcfrank0 says

    Another guess: legal jeopardy. Jones had two court cases last week in Austin, one regarding the Sandy Hook false flag accusation and the other the misidentification of the Parkland shooter.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    I heard a segment of Jones’ reaction on The Cognitive Dissonance Podcast this morning. He goes from insane shrieking to blubbering like a spoiled child not getting his way.

    It’s so delicious!

  3. jrkrideau says

    Has Jones ever done any Holocaust denying? Germany is not happy about such things.

  4. says

    x-posted from the other Jones-banning thread:

    US law prevents a provider of a public platform – like WordPress or Twitter or YouTube – from being held liable for the content created by independent parties unless other, additional considerations provide a rebuttal to the presumption that liability rests solely with the content creator.

    One thing that might be done to show that the platform provider (PP) has taken on some level of liability might be to show that they do in fact have content standards, that they enforce those content standards against some parties, that the content creator (CC) in question violated those standards, that the PP knew or should have known that the CC violated those standards, and that the PP did not edit or remove the work of the CC in question in a way analogous to how the PP had edited or removed the work of other CCs under the same standards.

    This is problematic, because the same law that draws a liability distinction between the CC and the PP also explicitly forbids any liability attaching to the PP for blocking any content which (in the PP’s opinion) can be categorized as

    obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable

    emphasis added.

    Now, the argument against this provision protecting the PPs would be that the blocking didn’t create the liability, but rather that the blocking of other content is mere evidence that the PP endorses the potentially actionable content created by the independent CC. The PPs will, of course, argue the broad interpretation that any use of blocking actions in any argument to attach liability for anything will violate the restriction, but I’m not at all sure that’s true.

    The absolute best target for such a legal strategy is FaceBook. While the censoring of pictures that include breast feeding mothers isn’t directly relevant (that would be a violation of a different community standard relating to “nudity” which, we all fervently hope, Alex Jones did not violate), their quick censorship of so many people while leaving Jones’ content uncensored for so many years provides a more than ample test. I just don’t know enough about what censoring FB has done on political topics or topics considered potentially defamatory to call to mind the most relevant comparison cases – but for damn sure comparison cases exist.

    I’d be very interested in seeing if this strategy really could get legal traction in the US.
    Here’s the relevant CDA sections, for those interested. Of course, there’s much more that’s involved here beyond just the CDA. Not all exercises of editorial judgement result in the attachment of liability. From what I’ve seen, even against FB the strategy isn’t likely to succeed. Nonetheless, I think the argument deserves to be made, and if it fails, perhaps we should revisit the extent of the CDA’s protections for PPs.

  5. blf says

    Has Jones ever done any Holocaust denying?

    None as such seems to be mentioned by the SPLC, albeit some of his rants do seem like they have a touch of anti-Semitism.

    The ADL says:

    Jones is not demonstrably anti-Semitic, but frequently expresses his distaste for “globalists,” which some consider a dog-whistle term for “Jewish.”

    White supremacists and other anti-Semites have been endlessly and loudly frustrated by the absence of anti-Semitism on Jones’s programs and websites. That said, Jones has been known to rail against the “Jewish mafia” […]

    After the violent and chaotic “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Jones announced that he suspected that many of the attendees were actually “leftist Jews” “in disguise,” there to discredit white supremacists and incite violence. […]