Date: August 10, 2018
There are several things known here…
1) InfoWars has a decades long history, of being an aggressive, bad neighbor…profiting off of the naivety of the far right separatist demographic, and off of the wholesale degradation of various minorities. That they would eventually become a legal liability for YouTube [FaceBook, etc.], is a virtual guarantee, given their pattern of past behavior.
2) Four InfoWars videos were found to be in violation of YouTube’s “hate speech”, harassment, slander, etc., rules [their terms of service]…
3) Despite that the existence of only three such videos in a single account would constitute “three strikes”, and by common procedure would result in an account termination for any typical YouTube user…YouTube acted with grace and leniency, in favor of InfoWars, counting the entire group of videos as “one strike”, placing InfoWars [Alex Jones] on suspension, and temporarily disabling features of his account…
4) Despite the standing suspension, Alex Jones decided to circumvent the terms of his suspension.
5) Alex Jones’ behavior on YouTube, has been directly linked to acts of violence and terrorism, in that they are considered to have incited these acts, for which the individual perpetrators were prosecuted and incarcerated.
6) InfoWars and Alex Jones have had a growing number of lawsuits filed against them, in relations to their/his YouTube activity.
7) Legal experts are saying, that Alex Jones’ behavior is not protected by free speech law.
8) It’s unclear if YouTube is likely to be named as a defendant, in future lawsuits related to InfoWars…lawsuits which could cost them, dearly.
Now…is it fair to say…that had Alex and company been wise…they might have simply laid low, for the thirty day livestreaming [and upload?] ban, after which they could have resumed their broadcast?…and maybe, they could have refined their behavior a bit, in the meantime?…
Is it fair to say…that maybe they should not have actively provoked YouTube, during a period where they had already gotten themselves into trouble with YouTube?…and they knew full and well, it would only make things worse?
Is it fair to question, whether Alex and company actively tried to martyr themselves, with this public stunt?
Alex Jones has a lot of money…It’s not as if he could not afford, this brief lull in broadcasting his show….
So…why did he decide, that he had to be a hard headed douche, in this instance?
YouTube…whatever we want to say about them…it is absolutely predictable, and intellectually sound, what YouTube chose to do, given the set of circumstances in this case.
Had YouTube been integrally consistent…InfoWars would have been terminated and banned, years ago…Let’s be real, about this point.
This is something that was coming to a head, for quite some time…YouTube didn’t appear to really even want to address it…nor deal with it’s fallout…But Alex made it clear, he was going to continue on, by being an even bigger problem…So, YouTube took action.
InfoWars, Alex Jones and company, has not been subjected to anything, that you or I would not be subjected to, had we behaved the same on their service.
When we are talking about YouTube channels with massive followers, and large financial business reliant on their YouTube activity…It might be reasonable, that YouTube is lenient as it was…in a good faith effort, to not abruptly destroy what a YouTuber has spent years building.
The Question, However:
…How could Alex Jones be so foolish, as to swat away this good will?…and do something he knew would be “YouTube suicide”?…What was going through his head?
Ultimately, Responsibility Lies With InfoWars and Alex:
This conclusion was fully predictable, presuming YouTube would ever consistently enforce it’s own terms of service. It is the habitual, historic behavior of InfoWars and Alex, which has led to this end. The people behind InfoWars, only have themselves to blame for this.
…They’ve had years to alter their mode of behavior…but, they’ve only ramped things up, leading to these inevitable conflicts.
YouTube Has Sound Defense, For What It Did:
There is a clear path of behaviors and consequences, in this case.
While many of us hate the heavy handed approach YouTube has sometimes notoriously taken…the decision in this specific set of circumstances, was clearly justified.
…A loose cannon on YouTube, was trying to go rogue…on YouTube’s dime, while gambling with YouTubes legal liability…And YouTube put a stop to it.
I Hate Censorship, With A Passion!
…This does not mean, that I fail to recognize cases where people have earned suspensions, or even permanent banning.
A person or group can become a big enough problem, that they warrant total removal from a platform.
Though, apparently, YouTube [FaceBook, etc.] considers Alex Jones to have reached this point…I take no delight, in the fact that InfoWars is banished from several online platforms.
While there is a strong aroma of poetic karma in this case, for sure…I do not see banishment, as being the preferable outcome…
…But I am intellectually honest [and consistent] enough, to understand and acknowledge why this outcome happened…
YouTube has been grossly inconsistent, when it claims to equally enforce it’s terms of service, or afford equal access to it’s services…
YouTube claims to want to keep it’s service safe, for it’s users…and claims to want to clean up the atmosphere on it’s platform…
…To which I say, “Fine!…Wonderful!”…
…And this is why, for many years…I have been calling upon YouTube, to actually enforce it’s terms of service, at least in the most obvious and pressing cases…Show that it is genuine, in what it claims intent…
I recognize what has happened with InfoWars, as being part of that enforcement [and clean up]…
…If that makes me some sort of a villain in all of this…at least in the minds of some…then so be it…
I’ve always been consistent on this stance…community rules [and terms of service] exist for a reason…and not even the massive channels, should be above them.
I see nothing to be ashamed of, in this stance.
Should YouTube be way more lenient, in it’s terms of service?…
…Well…that is a different discussion…
…I’m all ears, where it comes to considering the ways we can make YouTube open, accessible and more permissive.
Not everybody deserves their fate, on YouTube…
…But, let’s be careful not to give “free passes” to everyone…so enthusiastically, that we forget the grounded necessity in community rules [and terms of service]…
…Some people did earn their fate.
My condolences, if this is an uncomfortable reality.