On Wednesday, Media Matters reported that certain episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast had appeared on Spotify, “undetected by the platform moderators.” An update to the report says that the episodes were later removed. The far-right figure, known for spreading conspiracy theories (such as the idea that the government is “putting chemicals in the water that TURN THE FRIGGIN' FROGS GAY!”) has been pushed off major content distribution platforms.
Jones hasn’t been allowed to put his show on Spotify since 2018, when the streaming giant joined Apple Podcasts, Facebook, and Youtube in banning his content for hate-speech violations. But despite the policy, full-length episodes of The Alex Jones Show appeared on Spotify starting on Sunday, February 20, according to a report from Media Matters. The watchdog also reported that when Spotify users searched “Infowars,” Jones’ podcast was the first result.
The far-right provocateur, who started the InfoWars website in 1999, lost a defamation suit filed by families of Sandy Hook shooting victims after he amplified conspiracy theories that the shooting was a hoax, spurring fanatical followers to harass Sandy Hook families. Jones has also spread conspiracy theories that the U.S. government was hiding crucial details about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, September 11 attacks, and the moon landing. Jones provided funding for the January 6, 2021 rally that led to the attack on the Capitol.
In October 2020, podcaster Joe Rogan attracted controversy for hosting Jones on The Joe Rogan Experience. Despite Jones’ ban on both Youtube and Spotify, the podcast episode was made available on both platforms, where it remains available.
All eyes on Spotify — Spotify’s moderation policy has made headlines in recent weeks as major musicians and scientists have claimed that Spotify enables Joe Rogan to spread COVID-19 misinformation. In response, Joe Rogan pledged more balance on his show, and Spotify published a blog post saying it would add a content advisory to episodes that discuss COVID-19. Rumble, a video platform similar to Youtube that aligns itself with the far-right and currently hosts Alex Jones’ content, recently offered Joe Rogan $100 million to move from Spotify to Rumble.