InfoWars app will stay in the iOS App Store—here’s Apple’s reason why

Apple will continue to allow the InfoWars mobile app on its App Store even after removing almost all of the podcast episodes associated with Alex Jones’ conspiracy-theory website from its platforms. The iPhone maker released a statement to BuzzFeed News explaining its decision to allow the InfoWars app to remain downloadable from its store.

“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,” the company’s statement said. “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.”

The decision comes after Apple removed five out of the six InfoWars podcasts from iTunes and its other platforms for violating its hate-speech rules. Apple did not host the InfoWars content, but anyone with an Apple device could find and download the podcast episodes through Apple services. However, after that removal, some were perplexed when Apple didn’t remove the InfoWars app as well.

It appears that the InfoWars app hasn’t done anything to violate Apple’s App Store review guidelines for developers—or it hasn’t been caught doing so yet. Those guidelines forbid apps containing content that’s “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste.”

The InfoWars app hosts a news page that includes exclusive and curated news articles, a store page where users can buy merchandise, and a “shows” page where users can watch livestreams of InfoWars and its host Alex Jones’ video podcasts. Since the app hosts livestreams rather than recorded videos or audio clips (like the removed InfoWars podcasts), it makes it harder to discover when the app itself has violated Apple’s rules.

Multiple tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify, have banned Alex Jones or removed InfoWars-related content from their platforms over the past couple of weeks. YouTube recently removed Alex Jones’ and InfoWars’ channels, but similarly to Apple, the InfoWars app remains available in the Google Play Store.

“We carefully review content on our platforms and products for violations of our terms and conditions, or our content policies,” a Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “If an app or user violates these, we take action.”

Twitter remains a holdout in this situation, as it hasn’t punished or banned Jones or InfoWars like other tech giants have. In a tweet thread, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained that Jones hasn’t violated the company’s rules, but Twitter will act if he does and it will “continue to promote a healthy conversational environment.” Dorsey also said that journalists should “document, validate, and refute” the falsities and “sensationalized issues” that accounts like Jones’ peddle.

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