Apple is letting Infowars remain in its app store, saying that right-wing conspiracy site has not violated its policies. But the company is monitoring the app.
“We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions, and follow our clear guidelines, ensuring the App Store is a safe marketplace for all,” Apple said in a statement issued Wednesday night. “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 banned six Infowars podcasts from its platform on Sunday, giving momentum to a wave of crackdowns on Alex Jones’s controversial news site by other tech companies like Facebook and YouTube.
Infowars fans subsequently sought other ways to find Jones’s content, and his app shot up the Apple and Google Play app store rankings.
The Infowars app functions much differently than the podcasts, potentially explaining the differences in enforcement. The app lets users stream broadcasts which don’t remain on the app, making them harder to review for policy violations, whereas the podcasts are archived and easily reviewable.
Apple’s app store developer policy specifies that apps “should not include content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste,” including content that is “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups.”
Technology companies have been under increasing pressure to boot Jones and Infowars from their platforms because of his promotion of conspiracy theories, particularly his claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012 was staged.
Six families of the victims have sued Jones for defamation. Some of the families are now living in hiding as a result of the harassment they’ve faced because of the conspiracy theory.