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[flagged] Apple has removed Infowars podcasts from iTunes (techcrunch.com)
64 points by sahin-boydas 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments

And Facebook has permanently banned them.

There used to be a joke on Slashdot. Whatever was happening in tech, somebody would say "And I for one welcome our new $X overlords"

Now we have all the major internet companies deciding winners and losers. Doesn't seem like much of a joke anymore.

All those years I watched my dear friends on the left march in the streets, claiming that the right was going to shut them down and prevent their message from being heard.

Fooled me, guys. I guess it's true: we become what we fear from others.

I was going to add that that quote is a Simpsons reference, but it turns out the Simpsons actually referenced H. G. Wells: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/i-for-one-welcome-our-new-ins...

It's a pretty safe bet that any "Simpsons reference" it's actually a reference to something that is at least one level deeper (I consider this one of the great strengths of the show)

We have companies taking responsibility for what happens on their pitch.

They aren't stopping him. He can still publish his brand of crazy elsewhere. This seems okay.

If anything it's "our" fault for giving Facebook, Apple et al the unreserved omnipresence they have.

I see your Simpsons reference and quote The Onion

>First Amendment Experts Warn Facebook Banning InfoWars Could Set Completely Reasonable Precedent For Free Speech

>... “If we allow giant media platforms to single out individual users for harassing the families of murdered kindergarteners, it could lead to a nightmare scenario of measured and well-thought-out public discourse,”...

I'm sure people will use the "it's their platform they can do what they want" argument, but with Spotify and now Apple removing a certain person's content, can we call this anything but censorship?

Corporations get to choose who they want as customers, suppliers and partners. The whole system would collapse if they didn't have this ability.

It's a stretch calling it censorship as these people can host their podcast somewhere else or even host it themselves if they want to. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on podcast hosting.

>can host their podcast somewhere else [...] Apple doesn't have a monopoly on podcast hosting.

True, but with Spotify, now Apple and in the future perhaps other major players, what if all members of the oligopoly deny someone a service?

>even host it themselves

Can be seen as a silencing strategy - making something extremely inconvenient.

Apple never hosted the podcast. It just provided a search engine. If Google and every other search engine decides not to index the Pirate Bay, I will still know where to get my uhh -Linux distros.

Then they've just given some new upstart room to enter the market by hosting the denied person.

It's funny to call an industry that didn't even exist 20 years ago an oligopoly. The industry leader of 20 years from now may not even exist yet.

>...making something extremely inconvenient.

It's not Apple's job to keep things convenient for content publishers. Let alone those only indexed by their search engine. If you're squelched by mere "inconvenience", then perhaps your convictions to share your message aren't strong enough and your message isn't worthy of attention after all.

I find this argument increasingly tiresome. There has never been a time in history in which speech did not in some way depend on private support. Not so long ago that private support came from the owners of printing presses. It came from the landlords that allowed speakers on their property, and rented to unpopular people. It came from the telephone companies that served everyone even if they were saying "hateful" things down the phone.

What we're seeing here seems like a relatively new phenomenon, of private companies that are taking it on themselves to systematically erase entire schools of thought from the modern communications platforms, at least as far as they can. And yes for any given instance you can say, well, you can host your content elsewhere. And that works right up until Google - for example - steals your domain name on moralistic grounds, or your last remaining ISP or hosting provider gets attacked or comes under pressure from activists and so on. Because the sort of people who are doing this don't simply want Alex Jones off iTunes. They want him gone completely, from everywhere, and they will not rest until that happens.

Unfortunately Silicon Valley has long since lost any right to claim neutrality on political topics. That probably makes regulation inevitable. How long will conservatives sit back and watch as tech firms systematically attempt to erase their world view from the political conversation? How long will the wider population tolerate Twitter shadowbanning members of the government whilst doing nothing to an NYT journalist who (as noted above) says repeatedly she wants to kill all men, that she hates whites etc? This sort of extreme side-taking seems both new and very short-sighted. It cannot end well.

> What we're seeing here seems like a relatively new phenomenon, of private companies that are taking it on themselves to systematically erase entire schools of thought from the modern communications platforms, at least as far as they can.

That's not happening though. Or, if it is, it's nothing new.

Newspapers have always decided to not hire someone. Newspapers are not a free outlet for anyone to publish any content they wish. Editorial choices are made that, in one very narrow (and incorrect) view, could be seen as eliminating speech and "entire schools of thought".

Apple is exercising editorial control over it's platform, like they do with most of theirs. To say that they shouldn't be allowed to do this is a very interesting claim to make, especially when you're trying to promote freedom of speech.

There's a key difference.

Newspapers are responsible for what they print. They can get sued if they print things that are illegal, or even just wrong. With the editorial voice comes responsibility for what's said.

Technology companies have historically been viewed more as common carriers. In fact the term "common carrier" was invented to describe an earlier wave of technology companies. They are not responsible for what's said or done with their platform because they do not exercise editorial voice. The DMCA further solidified this notion in law by making it clear that if you respond to legal takedown requests you have a safe harbour and are not considered to be aiding-and-abetting crime if it takes place on your platform.

Right now tech firms seem to be trying to have it both ways. They want the scale, legal immunity and profits that come with bulk automation and claiming to be a common carrier. But then they want to selectively eliminate legal speech as well to make their employees feel good about themselves.

I suspect if regulation is introduced, it will work like that - editorial control cuts both ways. If Apple, Twitter, Facebook etc are going to exercise such control over their platform, they'll have to do it like newspapers do. That means if someone "publishes" something that triggers liability on their platform, it falls on them. In practice that would be impossible given their business models.

Edit: to be clear, I'm making a general argument here rather than about Apple specifically. Apple is a bit unusual in that it does (or at least did) manually review most content put on its platforms. In that sense Apple might well be able to argue it doesn't want or need common carrier status and it would be allowed to do this and equivalent things (removing Alex Jones apps), especially as it's not a monopoly. Also, I'm not explicitly advocating such a legal approach, I'd want to ponder it more first, just speculating on a likely potential future given that the legal tools and precedents already exist. Such a change in legal perspective would affect Twitter, Facebook and Google much more than Apple.

> In fact the term "common carrier" was invented to describe an earlier wave of technology companies.

I mean, common carrier was applied to telecommunications services that acted as dumb pipes, carrying other people's content. Seeing as iTunes doesn't not host podcasts themselves and acts also as a editorial platform, it seems hard to say that Apple / iTunes is a common carrier (especially when the FCC, incorrectly IMHO, declared that broadband ISPs are not common carriers). Of course it gets even more complicated when these tech companies run actual news products, like Apple News.

> Right now tech firms seem to be trying to have it both ways.

Honestly, this is the main problem. We don't have good ways to deal with the roles and responsibilities of tech companies. Our old laws were made in 'simpler times' and can be awkward to apply to newer companies and the internet in general.

Side note, I found this on the wiki: In certain U.S. states, amusement parks that operate roller coasters and comparable rides have been found to be common carriers; a famous example is Disneyland.

Yes, I think in the case of Apple specifically you're right, I added an addendum to my post above clarifying that I'm making a more general argument now.

If Apple had done this in isolation I don't think anyone would care. As part of a trend that seems to be affecting most companies based in the bay area, it is far more worthy of analysis and discussion as part of that trend.

Worst case is civil war but pillarisation is absolutely possible too. The division of society into groups that mostly keep out of each other’s business and think the others are going to hell or should.


> I find this argument increasingly tiresome. There has never been a time in history in which speech did not in some way depend on private support.

That doesn't make it any less true. Free speech doesn't depend on private support. The reach it can have does, but that's a big difference.

What is tiresome is people believing that every opinion has a right to be heard at the same volume and reach as any other, regardless of how the majority of society perceives them or even, in some cases, how despicable it can be.

> How long will conservatives sit back and watch as tech firms systematically attempt to erase their world view from the political conversation?

Let's stop pretending that this is true. Twitter is not "shadowbanning" anyone and, if anything, it's been the opposite. In a clear case of false balance they have been over-representing ideas held by a minority of the population in order to appear fair and balanced.

Now that is clear that the message doesn't resonate with many people as expected, there's a lot of frustration among conservative voices. It's time to start accepting that certain ideas are not being suppressed. They are just not that popular.

> doing nothing to an NYT journalist who (as noted above) says repeatedly she wants to kill all men, that she hates whites etc?

Context matters. And reading comprehension does to. And cherrypicking cases to prove a point is not really effective.

Twitter is not "shadowbanning" anyone and, if anything, it's been the opposite.

Are you sure? Even VICE News says it's true:


Twitter didn't deny it either, although apparently they "fixed" it once it was called out.

By the way, you appear to believe Twitter is a newspaper? Since when does Twitter attempt to have a "balance" on anything? Given its automated nature, it has historically just been a way for people to announce their opinions, right? Not an attempt to fairly represent all the issues.

I would have more sympathy if American conservatives hadn't removed the Fairness Doctrine.[0]

I would have more sympathy if AM radio wasn't dominated by conservative talk radio and elaborate syndication organizations.

I would have more sympathy if you weren't equating vile propaganda about 'crisis actors' and 'schools of thought.

I might have more sympathy if Fox News and Sinclair broadcasting were being told what to talk about by the government.


Apple didn’t “remove” the content. Apple never hosted it. The podcast directory is no different than Google, it crawls RSS feeds that are hosted on other servers and caches the results. You can still add the podcast to the Apple podcast app if you know the URL.

They served the metadata. Whoever hosts the actual audio files isn't really a factor in the debate.

They don’t “host” the metadata any more than Google “hosts” the web pages it caches. When you create a podcast, you host the RSS feed wherever you want (not on Apple’s servers) and you submit the url to the RSS feed to Apple. Apple crawls the RSS feed periodically.

Once you subscribe to a podcast - either by clicking on a link from the podcast directory or by entering the url yourself - not an iTunes hosted url - the podcast app goes to your server directly.

Correct, and people would equally upset if Google removed search query links to Infowars' website pages, regardless of whether they like or hate the actual content. That's what this debate and people's concern is about.

Google removes, filters, and sets the page rank of content all of the time.

If a search result doesn’t appear on the first page, statistically it may as well not exist.

Is it censorship if Barnes and Noble won't let me put my book on their shelves?

It depends. But it's most likely also legal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

it's legal censorship

Not everyone can publish on iTunes or Spotify. Is it censorship when these companies choose which content they want to publish?

If not, why is it censorship when they use the same judgment to remove something they had previously approved?

As long as they don't prevent iTunes from importing the Infowars podcast feed, I don't see it as a major problem.

Apple isn't required to help you promote your content if they don't want to, but they are also not allowed to block your access to legal content, regardless of what they may think of it.

> they are also not allowed to block your access to legal content, regardless of what they may think of it

What law forbids this?

I was just thinking morally.

I'm not sure if a private company is allowed to block their customers from accessing content that the company, in this case Apple, simply dislike. That's may be perfectly legal.

Would Apple be allowed to block users from accessing Google from an iPhone, if they wanted to? They can't if they do to promote their on alternative, but can they if they just feel like it and don't benefit?

Yeah not sure, what argument this stands on, because Apple is private provider of content on their own platform, they can do whatever the hell they want.

I think mrweasel meant iTunes the app, not the service.

Exactly. It's perfectly fine to exclude content from the iTunes store. Apple have always banned porn in the iTunes/App store, and very few have complained about that.... Not that I would like a PornHub app for my AppleTV.

What I wouldn't like is Apple parsing the podcast feeds I enter into iTunes and potentially block me from adding certain feeds. That should be non of their business.

I'm glad to see him go, but we're at the point where large tech companies essentially control what information we have access to and are beginning to engage with regulating the content for real, but we do not yet have legal or social norms about what they can or should do. I think that means we're in a dangerous position. Right now people get removed it banned based off how much pressure there is to remove them. We should instead have real institutions, either in the company or broader, where the rules are made, the cases are decided and appeals are possible. If this isn't regulated by the government, then we need to demand our information oligopoly helps us hold them accountable.

Freedom of Speech does not require large tech companies to carry, promote, and allow easy access to any and all speech. One’s rights extend only as far as one has the capability to express them using their own resources. If IW wants to setup their own app, App Store, and distribution channels, no one is stopping them, but Apple is not required to do so for them.

Indirectly related. Not sure how many people here know of Father Coughlin, an American Fascist radio priest of the 1930s. He reached millions of listeners.

Was eventually shut down by Roosevelt and his local church parish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin#Cancellation_...

Well, so much for sunlight being the best disinfectant.

You just know Alex will use the deplatforming to "prove" that the globalists are after him, or something like that. Might have been better to ignore him instead of Apple getting into the game of deciding what is and isn't hate speech.

(Does NY Times hiring an openly racist editor make them subject to removal? Who knows...but somebody will start making that argument now that the door is open.)

Yet again everyone rushes to the defence of fascists.

If history has taught us anything it’s that giving fascists a platform is never, ever the solution, you can never reason with them, you can never argue them out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into, and they will always use your kindness as a weapon against you.

There is no value in anyone giving people like Alex Jones a platform, all you are doing is giving him wider access to people who will be swayed by his idiotic ramblings.

It shouldn’t even require saying; how do you think he has such a large following in the first place? Do you think he’s been unchallenged up to this point? Do you think the counter arguments have had any effect on his base? Do you think the sort of person who ends up falling for a dickhead like Jones is even capable of understanding the arguments against his position?

Stop protecting fascists, open a history book.

AJ may be a pos but a fascist he is not. It would be helpful if you and the many others who use this term to open a dictionary and encyclopedia to learn what it really means and not what you think or want it to mean.

You think suppressing speech is a great way to combat "fascism"? The irony.

It's not ironic, it is the Paradox of tolerance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Ignoring the fact that the paradox of intolerance is the mother of all slippery slope arguments, letting a fascist speak is not the same as "being tolerant without limit". If your people are turning fascist, it's not because of a clown on itunes, it's because you've failed to provide sufficient education and opportunity to self-actualize to your population. Fascism doesn't grow where fascists speak, it grows where people are hateful and disenfranchised. That's not to say I want Alex to stay. Good riddance. I just don't like the paradox of intolerance.

"I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise." - Karl Popper

Great in theory, in practice, channels like infowars are using irrational arguments and keep using them; you'll never see the rational counter arguments in their broadcasts.

I mean to bring up facism again, there were valid rational counter-arguments to the nazi's arguments, but because they owned the media nobody saw them and those that published them were squashed.

Same thing is still happening all over the place.

Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake

OK, let's open a history book. How is Alex Jones a fascist? Can you elaborate on that?

Historically speaking fascists were hard left. The Fascist government of Mussolini had the following features:

- No democracy

- Massive state control over private industry

- Forced suppression of the opposition by censorship and intimidation

Has Alex Jones advocated for censorship of his opponents, massive state control over private industry or the institution of dictatorship? If not, what makes him fascist, exactly?

I was about to make a similar comment. I believe that "fascist" here is being used at a political pejorative (much like right-wingers will call someone "socialist" as an insult.)

There are many negative adjectives that can be used to describe Alex Jones and his conspiracy theories, but to the best of my knowledge he does not support totalitarian dictatorships.

Massive state control over private industry != hard left. It's merely a tool to achieve an aim. Otherwise you can start argueing that Hitler was extreme left, which is laughable.

How is it laughable, again? You know what Nazi stands for, don't you? And if you accept the premise that America is probably the most culturally right wing society today, then which was Nazi Germany closer to in its policies - America or the USSR?

The BS crisis actor narrative and conspiracies pushed by Jones are not the null hypothesis , it's actively pushed by them.

If you take away the mic, there's nothing left to disinfect. It's the formation of conspiracy believing, self-reinforcing cults that cause these narratives to begin with

Doesn't it mean that it's much harder for 'casual' listeners to find him?

Like every show there are likely hardcore listeners (who will still find him) and a spectrum of less committed listeners (along that spectrum is a point where people will just stop listening)

Alex Jones is sadly closer to a religious cult than something desinfectable.

There is a line somewhere in between, it's rather blurry but at some point sunlight no longer work and the best option is to nuke it. (I don't think this is generally true for everything the alt-right says, a lot of it can be desinfected with sunlight, so to speak)

> Apple getting into the game of deciding what is and isn't hate speech.

They're not doing that. They're getting into the game of what does, or does not, comply with their acceptable use policy.

It's nice to see some companies actually applying these policies.

Don't know why you're being downvoted. People seem to be so arrogant as to believe every platform must be a bastion for some unachievable ideal of "free speech".

Because as anyone who has read the article can see, Apple specifically used the term "hate speech".

> "we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users"

They have guidelines. He broke them. End of.

This is a great time to mention gpodder.net, a libre alternative to the iTunes podcast browser. Aside from not promoting censorship, it also integrates nicely with third party FOSS programs such as AntennaPod for Android or Armarok.

The anti-censorship thinking in me is not happy but when it comes to Alex Jones he’s one of the people on this planet that I wish I had omnipotence to remove his voice. He does much more harm than good. Perhaps a solution to his influence is educating people to think critically but alas I think for much of his “fans” (zealots maybe?) it might be too late.

He isn’t being “censored”. Anyone who knows the url to the podcast url can add it. A private company can legally decide who to do business with except for protected classes. The Supreme Court just said that someone didn’t have to offer service to someone if it went against thier beliefs.

If you're referring to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case they said no such thing, the ruling was so narrow (and nonsensical) that it's hard to conclude that it means much of anything, other than the court trying get out of deciding the more general question on a technicality.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece_Cakeshop_v._Colora...

I didn’t say it made sense. But conservatives have been fighting to allow for profit businesses to be run based on “religious beliefs” - not only the Cake case but also Hobby Lobby - it’s the other side of the coin.

Apple and others are within their right to not promote him, but it's definitely a form of censorship when the entities that are nearly 100% responsible for actually searching and easily adding the content remove the listing entirely.

Fuck Alex Jones, but I want the tech companies to be totally impartial. As soon as Spotify led with removing music it immediately resulted with demands from political groups to remove more and more. It sets the stage for endless politicizing of everything someone doesn't like because the precedent of intervention is now made.

It gives further power to the mob rule mentality of Twitter where everything you once said is on record, context-less, and used as a kludge to attack by the loudest people whether left or right.

As someone who listens to podcasts like Reason magazine that are often pointed, if not controversial to some, this is highly concerning to me. Don't put Jones on anything but a direct search for all I care but as Sarah Jeong is now learning the pitchforks can come from the right too

If you want to find the Alex Jones podcast, you can still go to Google (like the rest of the world) and the web page and the RSS feed comes up on the first page right below the news articles.


You can add the link directly to the podcast app.

I'm sure there are enough conservative outlets that will inform people how to go to the link. If enough sites link to it, it should appear higher up on Google.

The point is that these companies have immense control over the economy and speech. They should be as neutral as possible, otherwise it will be a tug of war to control them just like everything else in society is becoming.

Also you realize that there's an entire "bring these giants to task over fake news" thing happening right now whereupon we will demand the likes of Google and Facebook take editorial control over content, when the majority of people will only get what comes out of those filters. This is inherently wildly dangerous and absolutely censorship.

Delisted by Google = a company effectively does not exist, the same goes for most things online, and that is the natural next step once some of the giants start to take stricter control. People will only demand more and more things they don't like be removed.

If you don’t turn up on the first page on Google you might as well be delisted anyway. Not every site in the world that wants to become popular is going to appear in the first 20 search results.

For instance in the Apple ecosystem, there are plenty of pundits like Gruber, the guy who runs stratechery, etc who don’t depend on SEO and never have.

If your whole business model is dependent on Google SEO, you’re just one algorithm change away from going out of business - even if you’re not specifically being targeted.

There is a whole conservative ecosystem that most people who care about people like Alex Jones can discover him from.

Like I said, people can’t both argue that Apple should allow side loaded apps and not be a wall garden as a way to foster free speech and at the same time argue that podcasts - one of the few areas where you can get content outside of the walled garden isn’t good enough. If that’s the case, Google allowing side loading of apps is a meaningless talking point.

Again, you are missing the point that there's a huge problem with our regulators trying to control the content on Google as well as when the likes of Apple flexes their muscle and every other company falls in line. That is a speech crippling power that companies should not have, and it is an avenue for politicians to weaken the first amendment in an awful way.

it is harder for him to get new listeners unless the current ones spread the message. By delisting Apple is, in my mind, censoring him.

There are millions of podcasts, apps, songs, web pages etc. available. It’s hard to get discovered organically on any platform unless you are featured.

People are always complaining that Apple doesn’t allow you to side load apps and if Apple doesn’t approve your app, you can’t distribute it and it would be fine if Apple curated its own store as long as you could “side load”.

Well here is an example where you can “side load” content by providing a URL and the content doesn’t get treated any differently.

That tells me that even if you could side load apps, people would still be complaining about Apple’s “censorship”.

In fact, between music, video, podcasts, apps, and books, the only two types of contents you can add to thier respective libraries directly from the phone, are podcasts and books.

No it didn't (although I wish it did).

SCOTUS said not a word about the material issue, but ruled on very narrow procedural grounds.

Can anyone explain why Infowars are bad? I keep hearing they are but no convincing arguments to support that claim.

Edit: Do people giving me thumbs down care to explain themselves?

I can't speak for the American content, but the Scandinavian blog entries range from outright lies to gross missinformation.

Would you really want that associated with your brand? I wouldn't.

What kind of lies do they tell?

Read through a few of them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfoWars#Controversies

1. Sexual harassment “filed complaints against Jones” filing and proving are different things. 2. What’s wrong with conspiracy theories? Who cares unless they are real? 3. Can I see examples of fake news posted by Infowars? Still haven’t seen any. 4. Same as conspiracy theories 5. I can think of many examples where mainstream media promotes violence and harassment against right wing. 6. Chobani never proved otherwise? 7. Not sure about copyright infringement but alright, could be it 8. Unexplained suspension


We eventually ban the main account if you continue using throwaways for throwaway posting.


Of course "let's silence and remove everyone that disagrees with us!", i mean c'mon don't censor free speach, let the free market take care of itsef.

You could remove someone who is promoting child abuse, threats, racism (man oh man, did twitter let that NYT editor board woman account stay despite her racist comments), killing and so on, but if you disagree with someone like alex jones, congrats! now move on! (not fan of him, but fan of free speach, i mean i know the price of it and it's not cheap)

What about Apple's free speech? They're the publisher. Are they supposed to put their logo on content that they don't approve? That's not how a free market works.

I now expect Apple to police all content that appears on their platform. If anything that breaks copyright appreas Apple should be held responsbile. They can not hold on to whatever "common carrier" status they enjoy now and still censor people they don't like.

Maybe you don't know how the iTunes and App Stores work? Apple does "police all content" already.

> They can not hold on to whatever "common carrier" status they enjoy now and still censor people they don't like

You've not fully read the comments above that discussed "common carrier". HINT: it was decided that common carrier doesn't really apply in this situation.

No, more like "that's not how apple store works".

You can find fart apps where you press a button and you hear a fart. I doubt by allowing this app in Apple store, everyone all of sudden believes farts = Apple. Or that Apple affiliates themselves with nasty behavior in public, etc.

Apple manually approves every app and content item on their stores. They are legally the publisher.

> i know the price of it and it's not cheap

maybe cheaper than Apples products...

100% agree with your comment. There are worse people and worse scams, even on Apples platform. But this banning makes for far better PR of course.

Apple might not be the right platform if you like to make decisions yourself and they ban a lot of other stuff too. Their right. Maybe some higher ups were not content with the effect of the man-pills.

I agree with you, but Apple also has the right to not be a muppet with Alex’s hand up its ass controlling the mouth. Just like anyone this offends can not purchase Apple product. I think this ultimately hurts Apple though, and is more of a political statement from pinkos. Mature businesses make capital decisions at 51/49 all day.

I think a major part of the calculation for Apple here is that there are also people who will weigh Apples willingness (or not, as in this case) to host this type of content in their decision to buy Apple products or not. Not the true fanboys of course, but interesting economic decisions are always made at the margins. As long as more people shift towards Apple than people shift away because of this, it's a win for them.

Apple‘s podcast app is not the free market. Its a part of it. And Apple is just acting as a participant of that market by defining whats good and whats bad for their product. And neither is that removal prohibiting free speech, because these crazies can distribute their nonsense by any other means.

I hate to keep sounding like a broken record, but Apple isn’t “distributing” podcasts any more than Google is distributing web content. Just like you can go to a web page without going through Google’s search engine if you know the URL and you can get to it from Chrome. You can still subscribe to his podcast in the podcast app if you know the URL to the RSS feed. Neither the RSS feed nor the audio files were ever hosted by Apple.

Free speech does not also guarantee a platform. It doesn't obligate anyone to promote your speech. Fans of his podcasts can get them elsewhere.

Apple is a company, and they have the right to do whatever they want with their products (offered as a service).

Wrong on many levels. First, second and third he's a crackpot and a dangerous one, as many people believe him. That said, Apple doesn't have to carry him. In USA, under certain circumstances, I can legally argue that people of X color or religion should summarily shot and not go to jail. That doesn't mean that Apple has to carry my speeches or NYT publish my theories.

Why was this flagged? People support this guy? Or hate the takedown so much?

As someone who is a big supporter and fan of public broadcasting - proper, popular public broadcasting like the BBC, I find it super ironic that both the American conservative and hard right, who seem to hate public broadcasting with equal force, are being denied platforms by private, capitalist enterprises who owe them no explanations or responsibility, and who have no true accountability to their audience.

What makes you think the BBC is any better?

That's not my point. At all. My point is that a public broadcaster is accountable to the public, so they would have offical avenues of complaint.

Yes, and what happens to BBC employees if they ignore such complaints? How exactly is the BBC accountable? Has the license fee ever been reduced in response to poor behaviour or problematic journalism by BBC staffers?

That's not how it works. There are investigations, public apologies are made, people are fired etc. It's quite clear from the Brexit debate that each side believed the BBC to be biased against them, which in my mind, at least for Brexit, meant the BBC were doing their job.

That's accountability for individuals possibly and very rarely. That's not accountability for the organisation. Consider what happens if someone is fired and someone who agrees with them on everything is immediately promoted into their place. Nothing changes. Markets create accountability for organisations, not just people.

The BBC love to try and escape accountability by claiming "we found examples of people accusing of opposite biases, therefore we're neutral". However this doesn't logically follow.

Markets aren't very good at accountability at all. There are numerous examples of banks/utilities/you name it, just carrying on ignoring the public outcry. The BBC is accountable because it's state run, and so there is a lot of infrastructure in place to force change, fine it, take it to court etc. Further, just because the BBC is a public broadcaster, doesn't mean people have to watch it, or even pay the license fee. The BBC isn't a state monopoly, it's just a state run broadcaster, I think you're confusing the two.

Prime example, license fee revenues are currently falling, because people have been watching online and using services like Netflix, so the BBC has been looking at ways to change their whole model to keep going.

Markets don't always work, most notably when heavy regulations make it hard to enter the market at all - like in banking! But it's better than the alternative which is usually nothing.

The BBC is accountable because it's state run, and so there is a lot of infrastructure in place to force change, fine it, take it to court etc

How exactly can the state force change? The government basically leaves it alone on the grounds of 'political neutrality' except for occasionally adjusting the license fee (upwards). It's left to its own devices. As for fining it or taking it to court, that applies to any company, doesn't it? Fining the BBC is useless anyway, it's just a pass-through fine on people who have a television.

Further, just because the BBC is a public broadcaster, doesn't mean people have to watch it, or even pay the license fee

Everyone with a television or radio has to pay the license fee even if they don't watch it. Yes, in very recent times for the first time ever there are significant numbers of people who don't have a TV or radio at all. But that's still a small minority. In effect, no matter how great or useless the BBC is, their income remains the same.

At any rate, the original issue is more like "is the BBC more accountable to conservatives than Apple" and the answer is clearly no. The principle that the government leaves the BBC alone, especially in matters of news, is too well established.

Markets don't always work, most notably when heavy regulations make it hard to enter the market at all

We all know the problem with unregulated banking. And there is a market in broadcasting in the UK, the BBC doesn't stop that.

How exactly can the state force change? Because it's backed by public money, so there are laws surrounding its use. The BBC isn't some corporation set up on a whim, great thought went into the system, including the charter. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/governance/regulatory_framewo...

Everyone with a television or radio has to pay the license fee even if they don't watch it

This more than anything suggests you don't actually know what you're talking about. The license fee is only for watching OTA broadcasts and certain situations with iPlayer. I don't pay for my flatscreen TV that I only use to watch Netflix, youtube etc. And it's a !TV! license fee, not radio, you don't need a license to listen to radio.

I recommend you read up before posting FUD.

Free speech means you can state and opinion and the government won’t put you in prison. That’s it, that’s all it is.

No, that's the first amendment. Free speech is also a broader principle that the first amendment applies by restricting government power.

Thank you! I feel like everyone forgot their middle school civics lessons, the amount I hear that line trotted out these days.

And companies that value free speech don't censor opinions regardless if them censoring is technically legal.

It's a bit more than that. Censorship violates freedom of speech, but it does not imply imprisonment

... and commercial entities will not be proponents of free speech, as long and as far as that's legal.

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