The conspiracy-theory peddling website and program InfoWars and its leader, Alex Jones, were banned from YouTube in August 2018.
When Twitter banned them the following month, it seemed the major online platforms were making good on their promise to "prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence."
Nearly a year later, however, InfoWars continues to push hate onto the internet with the implicit approval of Twitter and YouTube. Twitter user and political blogger Judd Legum wrote a viral thread about the frustrating issue.
Though Alex Jones was banned from Twitter, other InfoWars hosts like Owen Shroyer, who hosts a show called The War Room, are still active on the platform. In fact, Shroyer even has a verified account, showing he has Twitter's approval as a semi-celebrity.
During a broadcast on Tuesday, June 18, Shroyer called for former President Barack Obama to be murdered.
1. An InfoWars host with a VERIFIED TWITTER ACCOUNT advocated lynching Obama on his show yesterday "He belongs in… https://t.co/8xJU7MDxf5— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560992436.0
@JuddLegum “I’m not saying it, but I’m just saying it”— laura (@laura)1560993523.0
Though the show is banned from Twitter, Shroyer used his personal account to tweet links to the broadcast.
2. The host, Alex Jones' sidekick Owen Shroyer (@allidoisowen) , used his verified Twitter account to promote the s… https://t.co/j1iaOZTQjf— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560992585.0
Legum reached out to both Twitter and YouTube via his blog Popular Information, but it seems the websites are ill-equipped to stop banned content from appearing on their sites if it's simply uploaded by a different account.
Unless, like they did with Alex Jones, they ban that alternate account.
3. I contacted Twitter 8 hrs ago and asked them about Shroyer. No response Twitter says it won't tolerate threats… https://t.co/GnWtRxCa9A— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560992959.0
On Wednesday, June 19, several videos of the InfoWars broadcast were still available on YouTube.
When Legum made YouTube aware of this, the videos were removed.
The video hosting site told Popular Information that any InfoWars videos will be removed as soon as they become aware of their presence.
4. It's not just Twitter. The video of the InfoWars host calling for Obama to be lynched was on YouTube earlier tod… https://t.co/QcQqFW3qIK— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560993180.0
Meanwhile, Shroyer continued to flaunt his hate speech on Twitter.
5. UPDATE: InfoWars host Owen Shroyer has responded to this thread (which is still in progress) by advocating for t… https://t.co/4DoSZIJ019— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560993379.0
Despite their ban, InfoWars continues finding ways to upload its content to the internet, thanks in no small part to still-verified accounts like Shroyer's.
6. Even though YouTube took down the video I flagged, it's unclear what they are doing, if anything, to prevent the… https://t.co/h7vQNPujIS— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560993541.0
7. InfoWars is making a mockery of its ban on Youtube and Twitter. On Twitter there is a large network of accounts… https://t.co/5H13I9fA7K— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1560993763.0
Twitter uses were appalled not only at Shroyer's casual racism, but also at Twitter allowing him to remain on its platform despite his clear disregard for the website's rules.
@JuddLegum Good god— SarahCA 💙🌊 #NeedToImpeach (@SarahCA 💙🌊 #NeedToImpeach)1560992476.0
Twitter's rules claim to prohibit "targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category" as well as "behavior that harasses or intimidates, or is otherwise intended to shame or degrade others."
Calling for the lynching of a former President apparently doesn't meet those criterion.
Meanwhile, a journalist publishing a book about White Supremacy in America was banned from Twitter for including a picture of KKK hoods on the cover of his novel.
@JuddLegum But don’t worry, Twitter will ban the author of a book about white supremacy & the alt-right because his… https://t.co/r2jbt0CgaU— Prince of Whales (@Prince of Whales)1561004525.0
Many Twitter users felt Shroyer had earned a visit from the secret service.
@JuddLegum Surely, the @SecretService has shown up at his doorstep by now?— Midwin Charles (@Midwin Charles)1561035529.0
@JuddLegum I think that the U.S. Secret Service should pay that "gentleman" a visit and have a little chat with him… https://t.co/FBdBVGgCvp— Gordon Titcomb (@Gordon Titcomb)1560992847.0
After all the harm they've done, many people are shocked to see InfoWars is still being allowed to creep into the public discourse.
@JuddLegum How is infowars still a thing, how many times do they have to get caught lying and advocating the worst in humanity?— everyoneisagnostic (@everyoneisagnostic)1561025897.0
Shroyer wasn't fooling anyone with the way he phrased his threats of violence.
@JuddLegum @sap1028 Notice how they always say it like 'Now I'm not saying it should happen but [insert graphic act… https://t.co/So352pf5qa— John Vilnis (@John Vilnis)1560994102.0
@JuddLegum OMG, are you kidding me? Man. The FBI need to work this dude over, ‘cause that’s pretty much a threat.— Aaron - Houston Moogle (@Aaron - Houston Moogle)1561017596.0
Meanwhile, InfoWars is facing other troubles after being called out online by Hillary Clinton.
@AndrewGillum @realDonaldTrump I can handle it. Blessed with stamina. And thankfully I didn’t stay up late last night watching InfoWars...— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1560964142.0
As if that weren't bad enough, Alex Jones's attorney accidentally sent a bunch of child pornography, the possession of which is a federal crime, to the prosecuting attorneys in one of the Sandy Hooks defamation cases.
BREAKING: InfoWars host Alex Jones sent child porn to families of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Their lawyers contacted t… https://t.co/1OMoO8O8a1— Jon Cooper (@Jon Cooper)1560803283.0
@JuddLegum Once again, humanity sinks lower.— Jean-Pierre Bastien (@Jean-Pierre Bastien)1561033928.0
We all seem to agree that InfoWars has no place on social media.
Perhaps it's time Twitter stopped giving its support to the show's hosts.
@JuddLegum Come on @verified do something about this. This is appalling.— The6ixFan (@The6ixFan)1561036930.0
The history of lynching as a means of targeting and intimidating racial minorities by White supremacists is chronicled in the book On the Courthouse Lawn, Revised Edition: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century, available here.
"Nearly five thousand black Americans were lynched between 1890 and 1960, and the effects of this racial trauma continue to resound."