YouTube banned the main Infowars account from its site on Monday, robbing founder Alex Jones of his largest platform to spew hate speech.
Around noon, YouTube revoked TheAlexJones channel, writing: “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” Specifically, YouTube’s terms of service prohibit hate speech and Jones has been spewing invective for years. He falsely claimed parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting were “crisis actors.” Then he promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory alleging there was a child-sex slave ring run by Democrats under a Washington, D.C. pizza shop. Earlier this year, Infowars blamed the Parkland shooting on the wrong person in an attempt to suggest the attack was perpetrated by a “communist.” Last week, Jones mimed shooting special counsel Robert Mueller.
YouTube told CNBC that Jones had broken the site’s rules about hate speech and harassment.
“All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube,” it 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.”
Jones reacted to the YouTube ban with a broadcast from Periscope, the livestreaming platform owned by Twitter. Jones claimed that he was the victim of a “globalist death star” intent on banning conservatives from social media.
Jones claimed that he had expected the ban and had prepared for it. He urged his followers to react to the ban by buying more of his InfoWars dietary supplements, imploring them to “feed your gladiator.”
Twitter, the only remaining major social media platform that hasn’t banned Jones and InfoWars from their main accounts, said the accounts do not currently violate its rules.
Infowars host Paul Joseph Watson tweeted “#FreeInfowars” after the ban.
Jones had a huge audience on YouTube for spreading his ideas and selling the dietary supplements that help fund his conspiracy-theory empire. He had more than 2.4 million subscribers on his main channel and earned more than 17 million views over the last 30-day period, according to social media analysis site SocialBlade.
Other Infowars-related accounts appeared to be unaffected by the ban. Watson has another 1.3 million YouTube subscribers, while other Infowars accounts have a combined 423,000 subscribers.
In recent weeks, Facebook, Apple, and Spotify had banned Infowars, but YouTube had seemed reluctant to impose the death penalty. Instead, it reprimanded Jones. In July, for example, YouTube struck four Infowars videos from the site—theoretically, more than the three “strikes” required under YouTube policy to justify a ban. But YouTube opted to bundle the four strikes together, meaning that Jones’ channel instead only received one strike.
Sleeping Giants, a liberal campaign aimed at pressuring advertisers, pressed YouTube on Monday to ban Jones in the wake of the Facebook and Apple bans. The group claimed that YouTube has been “doing backflips” to avoid banning Infowars, citing the idiosyncratic application of the “three strikes” policy.
Infowars reporter Jake Lloyd alluded to the possibility of a YouTube ban in a video Monday morning, urging Infowars fans to prepare for a crackdown by following Infowars’ backup accounts.
Lloyd claimed that employees of the social-media platforms were attempting to ruin Jones and his employees.
“They want me on the street,” Lloyd said. “They want Alex’s kids to not be able to eat.”