Spotify has just become the latest online media hosting service forced to reckon with its responsibilities re: the propagation of hate speech, with the platform announcing today that it’s pulled some—but not all—of its episodes of Alex Jones’ Infowars off of its servers. (At present, there are still 613 episodes of the show listed on the service’s page for it.) The announcement comes shortly after YouTube made a similar effort to surface-level cleanse itself of Jones’ more actionable vitriol; among other things, the radio host, conspiracy theorist, and Big Red Egg is currently involved in legal action with the parents of kids killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, who are attempting to prove he defamed them by claiming the shootings and deaths were faked by the U.S. government for political effect.
But that’s just one shit-stained arrow in Jones’ quiver, as he’s spent the last few years mixing his ever-present conspiracy rhetoric about Muslims, “crisis actors,” and more with increasing (and worrying) spurts of political relevance, thanks to his ties to occasional guest Donald Trump. Like any number of media entities in 2018, though, Jones’ Infowars derives much of its traffic and revenue from social media hosting and other online platforms, and while YouTube, Facebook, and now Spotify have made small steps over the last few weeks to keep the worst of his blather off their content, they’ve all been hesitant to take any bigger steps.
Spotify, especially is in a slightly tricky position here; the company faced plenty of ire from the music industry a few weeks ago, when it instituted a policy of removing artists with questionable or allegedly criminal personal lives from its curated playlists. That policy has since been abandoned—and its accompanying re-dedicated to the removal of hate speech was the justifications for today’s removal—but we have to assume its lingering bad will might make it even less likely for the company to come out in force against Jones’ bullshit.