The Alex Jones YouTube Channel and other channels associated with his website Infowars.com have found themselves under attack from a campaign started by CNN to pressure YouTube to have their videos demonetized and investigated for violations of the site’s community guidelines.
This campaign began when Infowars began exploring the widely circulated conspiracy theory that David Hogg, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who claimed he had survived the recent school shooting and began appearing on all the major news networks advocating gun control was a crisis actor.
After CNN published a report that some of Infowars’ videos were still running ads YouTube began by demonetizing the rest of their content. CNN’s reporting has led YouTube to engage on a second round of demonetization of political content after a backlash from major corporations.
Infowars’ business model has ensured it is not vulnerable to these advertiser departures and boycott campaigns run by the website’s critics. Most of its revenue comes from the sales of products from its Infowars store where it sells health supplements and survival and emergency supplies.
What began as a demonetization campaign has now escalated to the point where Alex Jones has nearly lost his YouTube channel. His channel received three community standards strikes for its promotion of the David Hogg conspiracy theory. Infowars has for many years perpetuated many conspiracy theories so it appears bizarre that YouTube is only now deciding it has a problem with Infowars content.
A third strike means that the channel would be scheduled for deletion which Jones claimed was pending.
However a spokesperson for YouTube has stated to technology website Tech Crunch that YouTube has no plans to delete the Alex Jones Channel or erase its videos.
Given the audience and reach Infowars has it would appear deleting the channel would cause too much of a backlash from YouTube users and could see an mass exit from the platform to free speech alternatives such as BitChube and PewTube. YouTube has still picked on other small right wing YouTube channels in the past by completely deleting them.
Jones’ critics are accusing him of exaggerating YouTube’s actions against his channel as he has been asking for donations and attempting to increase traffic to the Infowars store. Infowars livestreaming capabilities have been taken away so it is far from business as usual for Infowars even though it is still regularly publishing content.
As YouTube’s persecution of Infowars appears to be subsiding it is another reminder about how these tech giants have a bias against free speech and overreact from threats from social justice warriors and corporations who are sensitive to boycott threats. Free speech has won for now.