Amazon appears to have halted its endorsements of products from Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
The online retailer has ditched its ‘Amazon Choice’ label on a number of InfoWars-branded dietary supplements sold by Alex Jones’ popular company.
According to Amazon, the ‘Choice’ label is used to highlight ‘highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately’.
Amazon has never revealed how it determines which products deserve the accolade.
The removal of the ‘Amazon Choice’ endorsement from InfoWars’ products comes just days after Apple, YouTube, Spotify and Facebook blocked the conspiracy theorist’s accounts and content, citing hate policy violations.
Following the widespread bans, fans have flocked to the designated InfoWars app, which has rocketed to the fourth most downloaded free news app on the App Store.
Amazon appears to have halted its endorsements of products from Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The online retailer has ditched its ‘Amazon Choice’ label on a number of InfoWars-branded dietary supplements sold by Alex Jones’ popular company
The removal of the ‘Amazon Choice’ endorsement from InfoWars’ products (pictured) comes just days after Apple, YouTube, Spotify and Facebook blocked the conspiracy theorist’s accounts and content, citing hate policy violations
Up until yesterday, products such as the ‘Silver Bullet’ and ‘Survival Shield X-2 Nascent Iodine’ were listed as ‘Amazon Choice’ products, writes the Fast Company.
This suggests the products met the requirement of being highly rated with buyers, well-priced and available to ship immediately.
But despite receiving primarily positive reviews and not altering the shipping policy, the InfoWars branded products have now lost their ‘Choice’ status.
Screenshots from the retailer confirms Amazon has quietly dropped the label.
It’s unclear how Amazon determines which products are worthy of its ‘Amazon Choice’ stamp.
Some believe the decision is automated and made by algorithms that monitor reviews and buyer feedback, while others believe the retailer uses human moderators to decide which brands to endorse.
MailOnline has contacted Amazon for comment.
Activists had previously lobbied the retailers to drop InfoWars products, however, the Seattle-based company had not made any moves to change its policy.
The removal of the ‘Choice’ label follows a swathe of bans from Silicon Valley-based technology firms, including Apple, Spotify, Facebook and Google.
Following the blocks, the InfoWars app has seen a surge in popularity.
The free application, which allows people to listen to Alex Jones’ radio show live, is climbing the charts in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
It is currently ranked ninth in Google’s chart of Top News and Magazine apps. InfoWars is also the fourth most downloaded free news app on the App Store.
Until this week, Amazon endorsed products sold by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones with its ‘Amazon Choice’ seal of approval (pictured, left, with and right, without)
HOW MANY PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR FROM ALEX JONES?
Amazon appears to have stopped recommending products from Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
This comes just days after Apple, YouTube, Spotify and Facebook all announced blocks of the conspiracy theorist’s accounts and content, citing hate policy violations.
Apple has removed the podcast but has allowed the app to stay in the App Store.
Likewise, although the channel has been removed from YouTube it is still in Google Android’s app store.
However, it seems following the controversy InfoWars fans are still keen to hear from Jones.
They are still flocking to the app, which is currently the fourth most downloaded free news app on the App Store.
Before news of it being banned from several platforms it was not in the top ten.
It is currently number nine in Google’s chart of Top News and Magazine apps.
Yesterday, it was revealed Twitter would not block Jones from its social network, despite recent bans from competitors Apple, YouTube and Facebook.
A spokesperson said accounts run by the podcast host and his media platform InfoWars will be spared the ban as they have not violated Twitter’s policies.
Users of the microblogging site have criticised the decision, arguing that Twitter is ‘protecting the hate, violence and bigotry’ of Jones and his associated accounts.
The 44-year-old saw his personal and InfoWars content removed from a host of the internet’s biggest sites in an unprecedented series of bans this week.
Twitter has revealed it will not block controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its site, despite recent bans from competitors Apple, YouTube and Facebook (file photo)
WHO IS ALEX JONES?
Alex Jones is a controversial radio and podcast host based in Austin, Texas.
Jones says his ‘InfoWars’ shows, which are broadcast on radio, YouTube and other platforms, reach at least 70 million people a week.
Among other claims, he has called the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting a hoax.
He was sued for defamation by families of some of the children killed in that attack, which left 20 children and six adults dead.
Among other claims, Alex Jones (file photo) has called the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting a hoax. He was sued for defamation by families of some of the children killed in that attack, which left 20 children and six adults dead
He now admits the shooting occurred but says his claims were free speech. He has sought to have the lawsuit dismissed.
Jones has also claimed that the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington were staged by the US government.
While he began broadcasting his shows in 1999, Jones’ profile has spread from the far-right fringe in recent years.
While running for president in 2015, Donald Trump told Jones his reputation was ‘amazing.’
Following calls for similar restrictions on Twitter, a spokesperson for the site revealed Jones and his affiliated accounts would remain active.
They told MailOnline that InfoWars and its associated accounts were not currently in violation of Twitter’s rules.
Content that is posted by InfoWars to other social media sites is often not also published to Twitter, they added.
Its policies on hate speech state that it does not tolerate users who harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence other social network users.
Twitter users that violate these rules could find their content deleted, or their access to the account suspended, according to the social network.
But the site has come under fire in recent months over the way it handles accounts that post abusive and threatening tweets – particularly those based on gender and religion – despite last year claiming it would crack down on abusive content.
The site suspended the accounts of several leaders of the far-right group Britain First in December for breaking its rules on hate speech.
Twitter users criticised the microblogging site for its failure to take a harder stance on Jones and InfoWars
Janice Leonard tweeted: ‘@Twitter please ban @realalexjones. We do not need to be subjected to his lies. Please’
Following bans from Facebook, Spotify and Apple, pornographic website YouPorn announced yesterday that it would remove any videos featuring Jones from its site. Twitter user Joyce Bolton criticised the microblogging site for failing to follow suit
It claims to have removed tens of thousands of accounts – many of them affiliated with neo-nazi groups – since it pledged to make Twitter a ‘safer environment’ in November 2017.
Twitter users criticised the microblogging site this week for its failure to take a harder stance on Jones and InfoWars.
Shaun King wrote: ‘OK, @Twitter the ball is in your court. Every other major platform stepped up. Why are you protecting the hate and violence and bigotry of Alex Jones?’
Ed Krassenstein tweeted: ‘Why isn’t Twitter banning Alex Jones and his InfoWars propaganda? Everyone else is!’
Janice Leonard wrote: ‘@Twitter please ban @realalexjones. We do not need to be subjected to his lies. Please.’
Jones, a right-wing radio host based in Austin, Texas, frequently lands in hot water for inciting harassment against the targets of his political rants.
He claims his shows reach at least 70 million people a week.
The theories he has promoted include that the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington were staged by the US government.
Alex Jones, a right-wing radio host based in Austin, Texas, frequently lands in hot water for inciting the harassment of targets of his political rants. He claims his shows reach at least 70 million people a week
He has also promoted a theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was faked.
The shooting left 26 children and adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
Jones currently faces five lawsuits, including three fronted by parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre – which Jones claimed was a hoax run by left-wing forces to promote gun control.
A number of platforms have recently suspended or removed content posted by Jones and pages tied to Inforwars for violating hate content policies.
Facebook announced Monday that it removed four pages belonging to Jones for posting content that violated its policies around hate speech and violence.
It came just hours after Apple revealed it removed the entire iTunes library for five of Jones’s six Infowars podcasts, including the shows ‘War Room’ and the daily ‘The Alex Jones Show.’
Not long after Facebook and Apple took action, YouTube removed The Alex Jones Channel, which counts close to 2.5 million subscribers.
A twitter spokesperson said accounts run by the podcast host and his media platform InfoWars will be spared the ban hammer as they have not violated the site’s policies (stock image)
Spotify also announced Monday it was taking further action against Jones, removing every episode of the Alex Jones Show from the streaming site.
Prior to this, Spotify had only gotten rid of specific episodes of the show, leaving most of the library up on its platform.
Even pornographic website YouPorn announced yesterday that it would remove any videos featuring Jones from its site.
People often post non-pornographic content to porn websites due to their relatively relaxed copyright rules.
Facebook announced Monday that it removed four pages belonging to Jones for posting content that violated its policies around hate speech and violence. It marks an about face for Facebook, which had earlier refused to take down Infowars’ content on grounds of free speech
In recent weeks, Facebook and other tech giants have faced repeated backlash over its inaction against the US conspiracy theorist.
However, YouTube, Facebook and Apple all chose to take sweeping action against Jones on the same day, effectively removing his content from their platforms.
A notice on the Alex Jones Channel said the account had been ‘terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.’
‘All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube,’ a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
‘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.’
YouTube had pulled four down videos hosted by Jones last month for violating its policies around hate speech and child endangerment.
The firm became aware that Jones was continuing to violate its policies and took further action as a result.
YouTube’s initial actions had triggered similar moves by Spotify, Facebook and Apple.
Apple announced its decision on Sunday night. Only one programme provided by InfoWars, ‘RealNews with David Knight’ remained on Apple’s platforms at the time of publication.
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Apple confirmed it had also removed Jones’ podcast for violating its guidelines on hate speech.
Just hours later, Facebook said it had ‘unpublished’ the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the Infowars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page.
Many have pointed out that the timing of Facebook’s ban was peculiar, with the social media firm posting the announcement to its site at about 3 a.m. (PT), according to the Guardian.
It marks a major about face for Facebook, which had said in recent weeks that it refused to ban Infowars on the grounds of protecting free speech on its platform.
Facebook in July banned Jones personally from posting on the platform for 30 days and removed four videos for violating its rules.
At the time, Facebook had warned that it would ban Jones and Infowars’ accounts should they continue to post content violating the company’s standards.
‘As a result of reports we received, last week, we removed four videos on four Facebook Pages for violating our hate speech and bullying policies,’ Facebook wrote in a blog post.
‘Since then, more content from the same Pages has been reported to us — upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.’
Facebook added that while many have criticized Infowars for posting fake news on the site, such as conspiracy theories related to 9/11 and the Sandy Hook shooting, the actions it took were not related to that.
While Jones and Infowars are technically unable to access the site, Facebook said they still have the right to ‘appeal’ the company’s decision.
If neither party appeals or their appeal fails, Facebook will remove the Pages indefinitely.
Facebook said in a tweet last month that banning Infowars’ Pages ‘would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech’ after a CNN reporter asked why the firm had allowed Infowars, which had more than 900,000 followers, to continue to operate on its site.
In July, YouTube slapped Jones’ channel with a ‘community strike,’ blocking him from broadcasting live on the site for 90 days.
Spotify, a music and podcast streaming company, followed suit last week when it removed some specific episodes of Jones’s programmes.
It’s unclear exactly how many episodes were ditched, although the vast majority of content created by Jones remains available to Spotify users.
‘Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of `The Alex Jones Show´ podcast for violating our hate content policy,’ a spokesperson said late Sunday.
‘We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community.’