For the past week and a half, Alex Jones and his media outlet InfoWars have been at the center of what is arguably the number 1 trending story in Technology this year. Jones was banned from 4 major social media outlets and content distribution platforms including Facebook, Apple Podcasts, Google (and its affiliates), and Spotify’s podcast directory, all in less than a 24 hour period last week. As of the publication of this article, it appears that Jones’s personal Twitter account is no longer active or visible either.
There are many areas where I vehemently disagree with Jones, and have even clashed with his more die hard fans over the internet in the past. When I first started podcasting in 2008, I took a stand against Jones’s conspiracy theory that The Bush Administration was somehow behind the terrorist attacks on 9/11, reasoning that since the federal government is unable to efficiently run even it’s most basic bureaucracies and seems to fail miserably at corruption coverups, that it is therefore highly unlikely that our own government would have the wherewithal to successfully stage a homegrown terrorist attack, and than manage to successfully cover up their actions for 15+ years without a mistake or a whistleblower exposing the whole thing. Because of my apparent denial of “9/11 Truth”, some of Jones’s more extreme fans have hilariously accused me of somehow being a CIA operative and other ridiculous theories.
In more recent years, as Jones has moved away from strictly reporting conspiracy theories, and moved into investigative journalism, I’ve found myself respecting these aspects of his work and his team more. Not to mention that I now share an audience with him made up of several patriotic and equally rational individuals. Is Jones still a controversial figure? Absolutely. My point in bringing up my past disagreements with Jones is to simply say that Jones still has a right to be heard, and furthermore, people should have the right to form their own opinions of Jones and other controversial figures, without governments or powerful technology conglomerates making that decision for them.
Some will argue that Jones’s banishment from these platforms is an extreme case because he’s an extreme individual, and while this might be true depending on one’s view, do we really want a handful of individuals living in Silicon Valley deeming what is extremist content based on their own worldview? Even the most plain and non-controversial websites such as Prager University have been censored by Big Tech platforms in the past based on the same vague terminology as described earlier in this column.
How to Solve Big Tech’s Censorship Problem: A Question With No Clear Answer
Many have suggested that some sort of government regulation or other intervention should be enacted, while others argue that government intervention would just make the problem worse. Both sides make valid points and it is hard to know exactly how to solve this problem. Hopefully the two schools of thought on this matter can come to a consensus, as the future of free speech as we know it will definitely depend on actions being taken to stop these abuses by Big Tech giants from occurring in the future, one way or another.