In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, the pressure is on for social media platforms to crack down on fake news and hate speech. On Wednesday, YouTube removed one video for violating its policies on harassment and bullying. Titled "David Hogg Can't Remember His Lines In TV Interview," the video was created by InfoWars, a far-right media outlet run by Alex Jones. The video features host Owen Shroyer, pictured above.
InfoWars is notorious for promoting outrageous conspiracy theories, including the idea that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting never occurred. The new video originally appeared on Jones' channel, the organization's main page. It seeks to discredit Parkland school shooting survivors who are protesting in support of stricter gun laws, and falsely claims they are "crisis actors."
Jones' channel received one strike for the video. Three strikes within a three month period will result in the channel's termination.
Commenters decried InfoWars:
You’re the same guy who said #SandyHook was fake. And that Hillary Clinton ran a child-sex ring in a DC pizza shop basement. Didn’t a guy show up w/ a gun at that shop b/c he was dumb enough to believe you? When is @Twitter going to shut down your lies? #FloridaShooting #NRA #2A— Erik Larson (@eelarson) February 21, 2018
Omg. Stop trying to happen. You’re vile, pathetic and disgusting.— Suneet Mahandru (@suneetmahandru) February 21, 2018
You are using your platform to knowingly lie about people in the wake of this event. Many will sue. Their families will take you to the cleaner. Your family left you because you're crazy.— Radio Free Shillbux (@Plex_Dave) February 21, 2018
In a CNN article, a spokesperson from YouTube explained their policy:
Last summer we updated the application of our harassment policy to include hoax videos that target the victims of these tragedies. Any video flagged to us that violates this policy is reviewed and then removed.
Alex you're the source of most of the conspiracy theories as usual. You'll do anything to attract fools and then sell them your lead laden quack products— yaakovdoe (@YaakovDoe) February 21, 2018
Before YouTube removed it, the video was trending at #1. It's actually still available on another one of InfoWars' feeds called War Room. Some people debated whether YouTube's removal of such videos is an infringement of the first amendment.
But most seemed to be in agreement: