Far left website Salon credited Jared Holt of Right Wing Watch, along with Matt Rivitz’s anti-conservative harassment campaign Sleeping Giants, for catalyzing the purge of Alex Jones and Infowars from major tech platforms earlier this week. Holt’s involvement appears to be motivated by jealousy — he stated, “I guess I was a little bit offended that Alex Jones was able to get on the air and I wasn’t.”
“The timing isn’t random. In recent weeks, a group of progressive activists has dialed up efforts to pressure these distribution platforms to drop Infowars” wrote Salon author Amanda Marcotte. “That pressure, which comes at a time when court proceedings against Jones have finally begun in earnest, created the momentum that led to this decision.”
Holt explained to Salon that he decided to target Spotify first because he was “offended” that he had to work to get his podcast listed on the platform.
When I found Infowars, I was surprised — mostly because of my own experience as someone who has a podcast, aside from my work with Right Wing Watch. I experienced a personal struggle to get Spotify to list my own podcast.I guess I was a little bit offended that Alex Jones was able to get on the air and I wasn’t.
I first brought attention to the fact that Spotify was hosting Infowars’ programming and tweeted about it. That was amplified by the progressive group Sleeping Giants, which brought it into the national attention, from my relatively niche Twitter account. People were upset and threatened to boycott Spotify. That got the attention of reporters who asked Spotify about it. Then I also wrote an article laying out the case for why Infowars clearly violates Spotify’s own hosting rules.
It’s reassuring to see them finally take action. I think it’s a little unfortunate that it took a public outrage campaign to do it, but ultimately I think it’s a step in the right direction. I hope these platforms realize that the problem is bigger than Infowars and that users are counting on them to follow through with the promises they made to counter this kind of misinformation.