Whipsawed! Infowars Welcomed Back to YouTube, Then Axed

Infowars’ YouTube channel, War Room, briefly reappeared on the platform on August 27, 2019 despite being banned in 2018. (Screen shot from YouTube, captured August 30, 2019.)


YouTube wants you to know that its leaders really, really value “openness.” Apparently to prove the point, Infowars’ “War Room” YouTube channel, as first reported by Vice, was resurrected on Wednesday; most channels of the Infowars franchise were kicked off the platform last year for violating YouTube’s community guidelines. But just hours after “War Room” reappeared, the channel was deleted when Vice’s Motherboard vertical took note of its rebirth.

(Right Wing Watch has found, however, that hours of Infowars programming, including the “War Room” and “The Alex Jones Show” continue to be made available on a different YouTube channel, labeled “General Shepherd.”)

As Motherboard’s Matthew Gault wrote on Thursday morning, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki took to the platform’s blog aimed at YouTube’s creator community on Tuesday to opine:

A commitment to openness is not easy. It sometimes means leaving up content that is outside the mainstream, controversial or even offensive. But I believe that hearing a broad range of perspectives ultimately makes us a stronger and more informed society, even if we disagree with some of those views. A large part of how we protect this openness is not just guidelines that allow for diversity of speech, but the steps that we’re taking to ensure a responsible community. I’ve said a number of times this year that this is my number one priority. A responsible approach toward managing what’s on our platform protects our users and creators like you. It also means we can continue to foster all the good that comes from an open platform.

The next day, Gault reported, the War Room channel uploaded 13 new videos, only to see the channel deleted after Motherboard’s report posted.

Since last year, Infowars and its proprietor, Alex Jones, have been denied access to posting their materials on virtually all major internet-based media platforms, beginning with Spotify, which banned Infowars following reporting by Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt chronicling the myriad ways in which the platform’s terms-of-service rules were broken by Jones and his hosts. Apple Music, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook soon followed suit.

Jones and his colleagues are purveyors of hate-filled conspiracy theories that have even targeted the parents of the children massacred at their school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in 2012. (Jones claimed the shooting was a hoax and that the parents of murdered children were lying. In June, a parent of one the victims made headway in a defamation suit against Jones.) Jones’ theories led to death threats against some of the grieving parents.

YouTube and other social media platforms have come under pressure from right-wing lawmakers—at the prompting of the right-wing conspiracy machine (go figure)—for allegedly trying to repress the “free speech” of “conservatives.” Perhaps that’s what led Wojcicki to pen her paean to “openness.” We’ve yet to learn just what led to the re-shuttering of Infowars’ YouTube videos.