Apple seems to have — at least partly — reversed its position on Infowars. Just days after the tech giant banned Infowars host Alex Jones from its iTunes podcast platform, it announced that it plans to leave the InfoWars app in its iTunes store in the interest of tolerance and diversity.
CNBC reports that Apple, which touched off a social media deluge over the weekend by banning Jones and four of his co-hosts, whom they claim violated iTunes’s guidelines, will not bow to critics and remove the Infowars app from the App Store because Apple “strongly supports” all points of view being represented on its sales platforms.
To add to the confusion, the company also released a statement.
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. 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.
According to CNBC, Apple justified their distinction by saying that content on the app is “ephemeral,” and that some controversial videos disappear after they’ve been viewed, or when new content appears. The podcasts, however, remain searchable on Apple’s site.
Some of the content, however, appears to be the same as content Apple described last week as “hate speech,” when it told Infowars that “we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users.”
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, made the decision to ban Jones over the weekend, touching off a domino effect on social media. Google and Facebook both followed Apple’s lead and suspended Jones’s profiles (Twitter, however, has allowed Jones to stay). The decision prompted discussions about how to define hate speech across the affected platforms, but it also pushed Jones’s Infowars app to #3 in the App Store and #5 on Google Play.