Social Media Bandwagon: The Case of Alex Jones

Within the last few days, Spotify, Facebook, Youtube, and Apple all made the move to ban Alex Jones, the runner of the conspiracy theory podcast known as Infowars. Apple was the first to make the move, with two days later the other three platforms following suit. This came as a result of months of complaining from general populace, who wanted Alex Jones banned for promoting false information and dangerous lies. And while this is a step in the right direction, it comes in a way that seems cowardly.

But let’s start at the beginning. Why did people want Infowars banned? Initially seen as a funny meme in the beginning, the podcast was quickly recognized as dangerous, spreading misinformation and promoting distrust in real media, arguing that the conspiracy theories presented are actually true. This grew dangerous under the age of “Fake News”, causing people to follow him and believe him, further dividing people over what is actually happening in the country.

This caused people to start pushing to get him off of mainstream social media platforms. People were tired of Alex Jones and his podcast, and wanted him to stop having open access to unsuspecting audiences. People even cited that he was breaking terms of service on multiple platforms in order to try and get him off the normal way, but none of the social media platforms did anything. Despite constant protest and pushing to get him off, not a single platform did anything.

That was, until Apple finally decided to cut his app off, and to stop streaming his podcast on Apple Music. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the other three platforms “found’ that Jones was in fact breaking Terms of Service. Now he’s only on Twitter, saying that the other platforms banned him out of cowardice. The real case is, however, that no one wanted to do anything unless someone else did it first.

Think about it. As good a move as it is, why did it take so long for the platforms to act? Then, when Apple finally banned Jones, why did they move so quickly? Because they’re jumping on the bandwagon.

The thing is, companies don’t really care, unless it will hurt their own public image. So when a big company like Apple moves, of course Facebook (who recently took a major hit over selling information and causing a company to make bot accounts), would want to jump at the opportunity to make themselves look better. And of course Youtube and Spotify would want to as well, in order to prevent losing public face. It does make them look kind of weak.

But at least they did something good. I can’t hate on them too hard, because it wasn’t like they banned someone people actually liked. But it does kind of look sad when companies jump on a bandwagon to keep people on their platform.

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