Alleged right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, founder of Infowars, is claiming YouTube is threatening to delete his account and all videos associated with it. Now, some big advertisers are asking the video streaming company to remove ads currently running on the controversial channel.
In a tweet posted last night, Jones claimed the Infowars channel, including over 30,000 videos, will likely disappear from YouTube. He further contends the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is behind the potential YouTube ban.
However, in spite of Jones’s claim that his video channel is on the verge of being shut down, YouTube denies any such action is about to take place. A spokesperson from the Google-owned video behemoth told CBS News there is no plan to “freeze” or remove the Infowars channel, at least for now.
While it sounds as if Jones is making an extreme claim about YouTube, multiple household name advertisers are now asking the video company to remove ads from the Infowars channel. Claiming they were unaware their ads were showing on the Alex Jones channel, Nike, Acer, Expedia, Moen, and several others told YouTube to remove advertisements, in effect to disassociate themselves from the so-called conspiracy theorist.
The Alex Jones channel with billions of views is frozen. We have been told it will be deleted tomorrow and all 33 thousands videos will be erased. We just set up this new page subscribe if you want to see what the SPLC wants censored.. https://t.co/0sGkMNUCPt— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) March 4, 2018
According to a CNN report, the companies either bought ad packages directly from YouTube or a third-party ad service. However, the ad campaigns targeted broadly-defined demographics and user activity, making it difficult to know exactly what channels the ads would appear on.
Speaking to CNN, discount-shopping company Honey said $169 was spent advertising on the Infowars channel without their knowledge. The company is currently working with Google to obtain a refund.
Despite filters set up to exclude ads from channels producing certain content, Mozilla has demanded their ads stopped.
“We have explicit exclusions set up for our YouTube campaigns and should absolutely not have appeared alongside this content,” a Mozilla representative told CNN. “We are disappointed to learn that YouTube’s filters are not as effective as promised in preventing advertisements running alongside objectionable content. We’ve since reached out to Google and paused our advertising on the channel.”
Alex Jones and YouTube have been on slightly unfriendly terms for some time. Just last week, the video service sent a community standards violation notice to Jones. After Jones posted a video claiming several students that survived the deadly school shooting in Florida were coached and told what to say, YouTube warned him about the content, and the video was subsequently removed. Later, Jones posted another video accusing YouTube of censoring him.
Later last year, YouTube hired thousands of moderators that look specifically for fake, misleading, or other content that violates company policy. Ever since, many right-wing conservatives and pro-gun advocates have been claiming they are being targeted for removal, while other, allegedly more controversial, content remains on the video site.